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  #16  
Old Jan 11, '05, 2:28 pm
AugustineH354 AugustineH354 is offline
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Default Re: Divinization?

Hello again Deacon Ed,

There is no question that many of the apparent differences between Catholic and EO thought are due to misunderstandings; however, I do not think that the “essence and energies” distinction is one of those misunderstandings. EO theologians emphatically teach that the saints will never have a vision of the divine essence, while Catholic popes and theologians emphatically state that they will. Further, Catholics have rejected, and continue to reject the “essence and energies” distinction made by EO theologians. Note the following excerpt:

>>The other element of fourteenth-century Hesychasm was the famous real distinction between essence and attributes (specifically one attribute -- energy) in God. This theory, fundamentally opposed to the whole conception of God in the Western Scholastic system, had also been prepared by Eastern Fathers and theologians. Remotely it may be traced back to neo-Platonism. The Platonists had conceived God as something in every way unapproachable, remote from all categories of being known to us. God Himself could not even touch or act upon matter. Divine action was carried into effect by demiurges, intermediaries between God and creatures. The Greek Fathers (after Clement of Alexandria mostly Platonists) had a tendency in the same way to distinguish between God's unapproachable essence and His action, energy, operation on creatures. God Himself transcends all things. He is absolute, unknown, infinite above everything; no eye can see, no mind conceive Him. What we can know and attain is His action. The foundation of a real distinction between the unapproachable essence (ousia) and the approachable energy (energeia) is thus laid. For this system, too, the quotations made by Hesychasts from Athanasius, Basil, Gregory, especially from Pseudo-Dionysius, supply enough examples.>>

[Quote to be continued next post.]
  #17  
Old Jan 11, '05, 2:36 pm
AugustineH354 AugustineH354 is offline
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Default Re: Divinization?

Continued from post #19:

>>The Hesychasts were fond of illustrating their distinction between God’s essence and energy (light) by comparing them to the sun, whose rays are really distinct from its globe, although there is only one sun. It is to be noted that the philosophic opponents of Hesychasm always borrow their weapons from St. Thomas Aquinas and the Western Schoolmen. They argue, quite in terms of LatinAristotelean philosophy, that God is simple; except for the Trinity there can be no distinctions in an actus purus. This distinct energy, uncreated light that is not the essence of God, would be a kind of demiurge, something neither God nor creature; or there would be two Gods, an essence and an energy. From one point of view, then, the Hesychast controversy may be conceived as an issue between Greek Platonist philosophy and Latin rationalist Aristoteleanism. It is significant that the Hesychasts were all vehemently Byzantine and bitter opponents of the West, while their opponents were all latinizers, eager for reunion. (The Catholic Encyclopedia, vol. VII [1910 ed.], p. 301.)>>

More on this in my next post.

Grace and peace,

David
  #18  
Old Jan 11, '05, 2:44 pm
AugustineH354 AugustineH354 is offline
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Default Re: Divinization?

BENEDICTUS DEUS (On the Beatific Vision of God) Pope Benedict XII

Constitution issued in 1336

By this Constitution which is to remain in force for ever, we, with apostolic authority, define the following: According to the general disposition of God, the souls of all the saints who departed from this world before the passion of our Lord Jesus Christ and also of the holy apostles, martyrs, confessors, virgins and other faithful who died after receiving the holy baptism of Christ—provided they were not in need of any purification when they died, or will not be in need of any when they die in the future, or else, if they then needed or will need some purification, after they have been purified after death—and again the souls of children who have been reborn by the same baptism of Christ or will be when baptism is conferred on them, if they die before attaining the use of free will: all these souls, immediately (mox) after death and, in the case of those in need of purification, after the purification mentioned above, since the ascension of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ into heaven, already before they take up their bodies again and before the general judgment, have been, are and will be with Christ in heaven, in the heavenly kingdom and paradise, joined to the company of the holy angels. Since the passion and death of the Lord Jesus Christ, these souls have seen and see the divine essence with an intuitive vision and even face to face, without the mediation of any creature by way of object of vision; rather the divine essence immediately manifests itself to them, plainly, clearly and openly, and in this vision they enjoy the divine essence. Moreover, by this vision and enjoyment the souls of those who have already died are truly blessed and have eternal life and rest. Also the souls of those who will die in the future will see the same divine essence and will enjoy it before the general judgment.

(Taken from "The Christian Faith in the Doctrinal Documents of the Catholic Church", published by Alba House.)

http://www.ewtn.com/library/PAPALDOC/B12BDEUS.HTM
  #19  
Old Jan 11, '05, 3:25 pm
AugustineH354 AugustineH354 is offline
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Default Re: Divinization?

I would like to submit further evidence that the EO distinction between God’s “essence and energies” is a false development of doctrine.

St. Irenaeus stated:

...the Word of God, our Lord Jesus Christ, who did, through His transcendent love, become what we are, that He might bring us to be even what He is Himself.(Adv. Her. 5.Pref - ANF 1.526)

This echoes the words of St. Paul:

2 Corinthians 8:9 For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that ye through his poverty might be rich.

This teaching is also in the Tridentine Mass:

Deus, qui humanae substantiae dignitatem mirabiliter condidisti, et mirabilius reformasti: da nobis per hujus aquae et vini mysterium, ejus divinitatis esse consortes, qui humanitatis nostrae fieri dignatus est particeps, Jesus Christus Filius tuus Dominus noster: Qui tecum vivit et regnat in unitate Spiritus Sancti Deus. per omnia saecula saeculorum. Amen.

O GOD, Who established the nature of man in wondrous dignity, and still more admirably restored it, grant that through the mystery of this water and wine, we may be made partakers of His Divinity, who has condescended to become partaker of our humanity, Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord: Who with You lives and reigns in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God, world without end. Amen. (Saint Joseph Daily Missal, 1961, pp. 660, 661.)

Now, I ask, when our Lord became a partaker of our humanity, was it our “essence” He assumed, or merely our attributes/energies?

I think the answer is clear; and given the clear answer to the above, is it proper to divide God’s nature into “essence and energies”? I don’t think so, and Western theologians have been pretty clear on this. And if the Western theologians are correct, then, to partake of the divine nature means to partake of the divine essence.

Grace and peace,

David
  #20  
Old Jan 11, '05, 3:33 pm
Deacon Ed Deacon Ed is offline
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Default Re: Divinization?

David,

The information you posted from the Old Catholic Encyclopedia repeats the condemnations of Barlaam without understanding that Barlaam never got hesychasm right! That information is both dated and incorrect.

Barlaam went to learn about hesychasm and, unfortunately, was taught the end-stage of process. He missed out on the years of formation that would normally lead to a correct understanding. As a result, he condemned it as a form of quiteism -- which it is not. If you really want to know what hesychasm is, you need to read the works of St. Gregory Palamas who pulled together an understanding and wrote in a way that can be followed, even by those without years of background.

There is also a difference between seeing and participating in. I can see childbirth, but I can't participate in it because I'm not a woman. I can see God, but I can't share His nature because I am not God. Since, after death, we are joined to God we have to understand what that joining is. Since is not a joining of nature it must be a joining of energy -- that is, of the actions of God.

We cannot participate in the nature (ousia) of God. Three persons, and only three person participate in that: Father, Son and Holy Spirit (the creed says they are "of the same substance" -- homoousias). They do not share in that nature, euch fully possesses the nature unlike human beings who share a common nature.

Scripture tells us we will "see God as He is" -- not that we will be God as He is.

Deacon Ed
  #21  
Old Jan 11, '05, 3:37 pm
HagiaSophia HagiaSophia is offline
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Post Re: Divinization?

Quote:
Originally Posted by AugustineH354
these souls have seen and see the divine essence with an intuitive vision and even face to face, without the mediation of any creature by way of object of vision; rather the divine essence immediately manifests itself to them, plainly, clearly and openly, and in this vision they enjoy the divine essence[/b].
Bears out exactly what I hear Deacon Ed Saying.
  #22  
Old Jan 11, '05, 3:47 pm
HagiaSophia HagiaSophia is offline
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Post Re: Divinization?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hesychios
Interestingly, many of the very same types of devotions that help us to interiorize our faith are used in the western sense too. Devotions we use to dispel sinful thoughts can be common to east and west. There is a lot of overlapping in practice, and historically there has been a lot of borrowing both ways between the east and west.

Western monasticism has been greatly influenced by eastern theology and spirituality (through people like St John Cassian), therefore much of what I have said about the east will sound like familiar material to anyone who has read the works of monks, nuns and hermits in the western contemplative tradition.

I hope that this helps somewhat, like I said it's hard to capture in a couple of posts.
Yes, it helps immensely. So as not to hijack this thread which I am enjoying so much - I'm going to start another one "spiritual practices" and I'd like to learn more about WHAT these consist of for the Easterns.
  #23  
Old Jan 11, '05, 6:14 pm
Matt16_18 Matt16_18 is offline
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Default Re: Divinization?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Deacon Ed

The "essence (ousia) of God" is what makes God God. It is, in effect, His Nature. We have a human nature and can never participate in the Divine nature because that would mean changing us from what we are into God Himself.
The scriptures say that Christians do indeed partake of the divine nature.
May grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord. His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence, by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, that through these you may escape from the corruption that is in the world because of passion, and become partakers of the divine nature.
2Peter 1:2-4 RSVCE

Catholic Encyclopedia comment on 2Peter 1:4 from the article: Supernatural Gift

A supernatural gift may be defined as something conferred on nature that is above all the powers (vires) of created nature. …

As a consequence of … Divine adoption and new birth we are made "partakers of the divine nature" (theias koinonoi physeos, II Pet., i, 4). The whole context of this passage and the passages already quoted show that this expression is to be taken as literally as possible not, indeed, as a generation from the substance of God, but as a communication of Divine life by the power of God, and a most intimate indwelling of His substance in the creature. … The Fathers have not hesitated to call supernatural union of the creature with God the deification of the creature. This is a favorite expression of St. Irenćus ("Adv. Haer.", III, xvii, xix; IV, xx, etc.), and is frequently used by St. Athanasius (see Newman, "St. Athanasius", II, 88).

Last edited by Matt16_18; Jan 11, '05 at 6:31 pm.
  #24  
Old Jan 11, '05, 7:53 pm
Hesychios Hesychios is offline
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Default Re: Divinization?

Quote:
Originally Posted by AugustineH354
I would like to submit further evidence that the EO distinction between God’s “essence and energies” is a false development of doctrine.
...

I think the answer is clear; and given the clear answer to the above, is it proper to divide God’s nature into “essence and energies”? I don’t think so, and Western theologians have been pretty clear on this. And if the Western theologians are correct, then, to partake of the divine nature means to partake of the divine essence.

Grace and peace,

David
Dear David,

I have neither the time nor the ability to address all of the scholarship you have posted here, and frankly Father Deacon Ed has done a marvelous job, so there is no need. I do believe that you two are talking past each other though, it may have something to do with the terminology.

I just wanted to say I appreciate all of the effort that went into your discerning this issue but you are wrong here.

Father Deacon Ed is associated (I believe) with the Melkite church. This has been the important element of the Melkite spirituality and theology since the beginnings of the church at Antioch, no doctrinal change ever aside from legitimate developments in the tradition. Likewise for the Ruthenian church to which I belong, first established in the ninth century in central Europe by Greek missioners and no change whatever except for the deeper understandings in the Greek tradition everywhere.

The Ruthenians have been in communion since 1649 after the interlude beginning around 1054 and have never changed their theology, the Melkites since 1709 approximately. These churches came into communion with Rome intact and with their own theology. I can assure you that if they had been expected to adopt the Latin understanding of the Trinity it would have been a deal breaker, and there would be no Melkite Catholics or Ruthenian Catholics.

However, if you are intent upon proving that our theology is heretical I invite you to do as much research on the churches as you can to find evidence of Rome ordering the Byzantine rite churches to repudiate their own theology and adopt the Latin understanding of the Trinity. They have had 350 years to try.

Rest assured, the Paraclete is in charge, there are no heresies coming from this direction.

Michael
+T+
  #25  
Old Jan 12, '05, 12:18 am
prodromos prodromos is offline
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Default Re: Divinization?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Matt16_18
How can God be divided into parts, i.e. how can one conceive of a division that separates God's uncreated essence from his uncreated energy? God is simple and not divisible into parts - all the Church Fathers taught this truth.
Matt, God's energy is inseperable from His essence. The analogy usually used is that of a sunbeam and the sun which like all analogies is limited since light travels at a finite speed and we may be receiving light from stars which have long ceased to exist. However, imagine if you will that light travels at infinite speed such that the light from the sun is received instantaneously. What happens if you try to seperate the light beam from it's source? Simply put, you cannot, because the instant a ray of light is cut off from it's source it simply ceases to be.

John
  #26  
Old Jan 12, '05, 1:13 am
Matt16_18 Matt16_18 is offline
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Default Re: Divinization?

Quote:
Originally Posted by prodromos
Matt, God's energy is inseperable from His essence. The analogy usually used is that of a sunbeam and the sun which like all analogies is limited since light travels at a finite speed and we may be receiving light from stars which have long ceased to exist. However, imagine if you will that light travels at infinite speed such that the light from the sun is received instantaneously. What happens if you try to seperate the light beam from it's source? Simply put, you cannot, because the instant a ray of light is cut off from it's source it simply ceases to be.

John
A sunbeam has the same essence as the sun itself, so the sunbean/sun analogy is not a good analogy for teaching about the difference between God's uncreated energies and God's essence. Is there another analogy that the Orthodox use that sheds some light as to what they mean by God's "uncreated energies" and how God's uncreated energies are different than God's essence?

God, in his essence, is love. How can the Orthodox claim that a Christian cannot know God in his essence? It seems to me that the Orthodox are claiming that we cannot know that God is love when they assert that we cannot know God in his essence.

Last edited by Matt16_18; Jan 12, '05 at 1:28 am.
  #27  
Old Jan 12, '05, 1:54 am
prodromos prodromos is offline
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Default Re: Divinization?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Matt16_18
God, in his essence, is love. How can the Orthodox claim that a Christian cannot know God in his essence? It seems to me that the Orthodox are claiming that we cannot know that God is love when they assert that we cannot know God in his essence.
Love is an action not an essence, and you'll get yourself into a lot of trouble trying to define God in such simplistic terms.
  #28  
Old Jan 12, '05, 9:14 am
Deacon Ed Deacon Ed is offline
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Default Re: Divinization?

Matt,

You write:
Quote:
A sunbeam has the same essence as the sun itself, so the sunbean/sun analogy is not a good analogy for teaching about the difference between God's uncreated energies and God's essence. Is there another analogy that the Orthodox use that sheds some light as to what they mean by God's "uncreated energies" and how God's uncreated energies are different than God's essence?
But it doesn't! The sun is a fusion plant while a sunbeam is an emission of that fusion plant in the form of photons. There is a substantial difference between the sun and its eminations just as there is a substantial difference between the nature of God and His energies.

Deacon Ed
  #29  
Old Jan 12, '05, 10:48 am
Matt16_18 Matt16_18 is offline
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Default Re: Divinization?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Deacon Ed
Matt,

But it doesn't! The sun is a fusion plant while a sunbeam is an emission of that fusion plant in the form of photons. There is a substantial difference between the sun and its eminations just as there is a substantial difference between the nature of God and His energies.

Deacon Ed
The sun is indeed a fusion plant. Einstein proved by his famous equation that there is an equivalence between matter and energy (E= MCC). Matter is being turned into energy by the fusion process in the interior of the sun, and the photons that are emanating from the sun are parts of the sun traveling outward into space. There is no essential difference between the photons traveling from the sun and the photons in the sun.

What the sun analogy shows is that the sun is divisible into parts - the sun can be considered to be composed of matter and energy. God, however, is not divisible into parts, and that is why there is a problem in asserting that God's uncreated energy is distinguishable from his uncreated essence.
  #30  
Old Jan 12, '05, 10:55 am
Matt16_18 Matt16_18 is offline
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Default Re: Divinization?

Quote:
Originally Posted by prodromos
Love is an action not an essence, and you'll get yourself into a lot of trouble trying to define God in such simplistic terms.
You are saying that God is loving, but the Apostle John teaches that God IS love.
God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him.
1John 4:16
Quote:
Originally Posted by prodromos
Love is an action not an essence ...
God’s goodness is synonymous with his being.
God is Simple

Catholic Teaching:
God is not composed or divisible by any physical or metaphysical means. Simplicity of God refers to the fact that he has no parts. The simplicity teaching extends to the entire nature of God. His substance, nature, and very being is that of utter simplicity. The properties usually attributed to God such as omnipotence, omniscience and omnipresence do not contradict the teaching of simplicity because each property is a different way of looking at the infinite active being of God from a limited perspective. One consequence of this teaching is the fact that since God is simple, he must be a pure spirit.

Definition of the Dogma:
The dogma of simplicity follows from the teachings of the 4th Lateran Council and the first Vatican Council which stated that God is an absolutely simple substance or nature. The basis of this De Fide dogma can be found within the gospel of John, "God is a spirit" (John 4:24).

God is Perfect

Catholic Teaching:
God is absolutely perfect in the order of all things. God is perfectly just, merciful, powerful, wise, and loving. He does not lack any perfection found in the created order because he is the first efficient cause and creates all perfection. God’s perfection is grounded in the fact that he is synonymous with existence itself and thus encompasses all being.

The Scholastics realized that since God is the first efficient cause and exists in complete actuality there can be found nothing wanting in him. Since God has no potentiality he encompasses all that is. Essentially, being is synonymous with goodness in the eyes of the Scholastics, and God, as absolute being, is also absolute goodness. Now it might seem strange that goodness is synonymous with being, but one must realize that perfection is impossible without existence. A perfect being is one that exists fully realized and actualized with no deficiencies. Deficiencies cannot exist in a perfectly actual being and thus God is perfect.

Definition of the Dogma:

The First Vatican Council explicitly taught the dogma of the perfection of God. Additionally, the doctrine is based on Matthew 5:48, “be you perfect as also your heavenly Father is perfect.” The doctrine is a De Fide dogma of the faith and must be believed with divine and Catholic Faith.

Last edited by Matt16_18; Jan 12, '05 at 11:11 am.
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