Orthodox interpretation of Rev 22:1-2?

What is the Orthodox interpretation of these verses?

[BIBLEDRB]Rev 22:1-2[/BIBLEDRB]

See this post. forums.catholic.com/showthread.php?p=9324527#post9324527

Hi TS,

As you know this is a Catholic forum, since there is no Orthodox forum at Catholic Answers, I suggest you ask this question on another board, such as Monachos.

However I do not think that there is a standard exegesis, almost all such writings can have several interpretations, different people could come up with different things for any verse, depending quite a bit on what each would prefer to read into it.

It is possible a number of Fathers have written on it, east and west. Probably most would expound on the original Greek or an early Latin translation.

When we participate in the energy of life, does it come through some sort of hypostatic union with the Spirit? If we reject this (as we rightfully should), then there is no reason for us to assume that the river of the water of life must be the hypostasis of the Holy Spirit itself.” What are your reasons for rejecting that?

Do you lose your individual, personal, human subsistence (which we would call your hypostasis) when you receive the Holy Spirit? If not, you have not received the hypostasis of the Holy Spirit or entered into some sort of hypostatic mingling with the Holy Spirit. I think both of us can agree that our sanctification does not involve the dissolving of our personhood.

Wow, this was thrown into the non-Catholic forum? Really? I didn’t know our Orthodox brethren were non-Catholics at CAF, seems contrary to the very definition and highly offensive to their place. Very disrespectful to say the least.

At first I wanted to rebut that there is a union, but perhaps this is another issue of East and West languages and definitions. There is a union, but what would Orthodoxy call it?

And how would you reconcile that interpretation of Rev 22:1 with John 7:37-39?

[BIBLEDRB]John 7:37-39[/BIBLEDRB]

St. Ambrose thought it well to interpret Rev 22:1 in light of these verses. Does the Orthodoxy differ from his exegesis?

A union according to energy. There are two basic types of union that we see in theology. One is the hypostatic union, where the human nature was united eternally to the divine nature in the hypostasis of the Word of God. The other type is a union according to energy. This type of unity with God is available to all human hypostases, who do not unite with God through any sort of pantheistic dissolution of the human person, but by assuming the energies of God (thus, we become by grace what God is by nature).

Not really, because there is a lot of nuance involved in exegesis involving Trinitarian persons. The Orthodox understanding is that the Holy Spirit is manifest into economy through the Son. The term river of water of life, then, would be referencing the Holy Spirit insofar as the Holy Spirit is manifesting to creation as a river of water of life. It does not, however, refer to the Spirit’s having existence (that is, the origin of the hypostasis of the Holy Spirit), which is from the Father alone, but to the manifestation of the energy of life from the Father, through the Son, in the Holy Spirit.

And how does this dovetail with the Eastern doctrine, the Divinization of Man?

Not really, because there is a lot of nuance involved in exegesis involving Trinitarian persons. The Orthodox understanding is that the Holy Spirit is manifest into economy through the Son. The term river of water of life, then, would be referencing the Holy Spirit insofar as the Holy Spirit is manifesting to creation as a river of water of life. It does not, however, refer to the Spirit’s having existence (that is, the origin of the hypostasis of the Holy Spirit), which is from the Father alone, but to the manifestation of the energy of life from the Father, through the Son, in the Holy Spirit.

That’s practically the same explanation through Western metaphysics. As St. Thomas Aquinas drew that in the Trinity the Father is the Self, the Son is the Intellect, the Word spoken from the Father, and the Self-Knowledge of the Father and the Holy Spirit is the relation, the response of the Self-Knowledge from the Father through and with the Son, which is love. I’m really not seeing the difference in Orthodoxy and our core definitions. Is there any fundamental differences or is this as other traditional Roman Rite and Eastern Rite Catholics tell me, a difference in language and theological definitions with Orthodoxy?

What he stated concerning the union according to energy basically is the Eastern doctrine of theosis, or divinization. We are deified through our participation in the divine energies, not by any sort of union with the divine essence, which, from the Eastern perspective, is not possible.

Men becomes gods by participation (in other words, according to energy), not by nature, just as an iron passed through fire becomes fire by participation but not by nature. Jesus Christ, the Word of God and hypostatically united God-man is the archetype of man, in whose image we are made, and in whom we find our end.

The psychological model of the Trinity, you might be surprised to find out, is not found in the Eastern Fathers. The main disagreement is over what exactly the Spirit has from the Son. Eastern triadology is unable to admit that the hypostatic existence of the Holy Spirit is from the Son in any fashion, only that the Spirit’s manifestation by energy is through the Son. The Council of Florence, if I recall, says that the Spirit has the Son as his principle (arche) and source (aitia). This triadology arouses suspicion from an Eastern perspective because the Holy Spirit is made consubstantial to the Father and the Son, but only in a posterior fashion, because there would be an implied prior unity between the Father and Son which is not shared in by the Spirit, leaving the Spirit somehow consubstantial in an inferior fashion. This is why we understand the idea of the Spirit being through the Son to mean the manifestation of the Spirit, not the eternal procession of the hypostasis of the Spirit from the Father.

Understood.

The psychological model of the Trinity, you might be surprised to find out, is not found in the Eastern Fathers. The main disagreement is over what exactly the Spirit has from the Son. Eastern triadology is unable to admit that the hypostatic existence of the Holy Spirit is from the Son in any fashion, only that the Spirit’s manifestation by energy is through the Son.

In relation to this, what of John 5:19? That the Son does what the Father does in like manner.

The Council of Florence, if I recall, says that the Spirit has the Son as his principle (arche) and source (aitia). This triadology arouses suspicion from an Eastern perspective because the Holy Spirit is made consubstantial to the Father and the Son, but only in a posterior fashion,

Can we apply a priori and a posteriori to an eternal, non-temporal relation though?

because there would be an implied prior unity between the Father and Son which is not shared in by the Spirit, leaving the Spirit somehow consubstantial in an inferior fashion. This is why we understand the idea of the Spirit being through the Son to mean the manifestation of the Spirit, not the eternal procession of the hypostasis of the Spirit from the Father.

Well in the west, there can’t be a relation or unity of the Father and the Son without the Spirit, perhaps a knowingness could be established between the Father and Son without the Spirit but the Spirit is the relation, the unity.

An exception is made for hypostatic properties, however. The Son does not exist in the same manner (tropos hyparxeos) as the Father, as the Son is begotten and the Father without cause and the only cause of the trinity. We would never say, for example, that the Son is unbegotten, as that would make him a second God, such that we would be bitheists.

Actually, yes. St. John of Damascus in his philosophical chapters writes of five kinds of priority: priority in time, priority of nature, priority of number, priority of dignity, and priority of causality. Of the fifth, he gives the example of the Father who is prior to the Son as cause, even though he is not prior in time or in nature (meaning that he would be some sort of genus or species of the Son) to the Son. The objection is that giving priority of cause to the unity between the Father and Son, would show them to be somehow superior in their oneness with each other than the Holy Spirit’s oneness with them, as one seems to cause the other.

But then how is the Spirit one with the Father and the Son? Must the Father and the Son together with the Holy Spirit produce a fourth person as the unity between the three? That is not to say that there is no place for the model you describe. We would say that this is true energetically, that the Spirit is the energy of love, life, unity, etc., of the Father and the Son, just as the Son is the Wisdom of the Father, but we must keep in mind that they are in some manner not these things exclusively, because all of those properties belong equally by nature to all three persons, not just to one. We confess that the Spirit proceeds from the Father alone, but also that He comes to rest upon the Son and is manifest through him (separating what is essential from what is energetic) in order to avoid any potential subordination of the Spirit or implication that His unity is inferior, while at the same time admitting an eternal relationship (not of origin but of action) between the Son and Holy Spirit.

But then how is the Spirit one with the Father and the Son? Must the Father and the Son together with the Holy Spirit produce a fourth person as the unity between the three? That is not to say that there is no place for the model you describe. We would say that this is true energetically, that the Spirit is the energy of love, life, unity, etc., of the Father and the Son, just as the Son is the Wisdom of the Father, but we must keep in mind that they are in some manner not these things exclusively, because all of those properties belong equally by nature to all three persons, not just to one. We confess that the Spirit proceeds from the Father alone, but also that He comes to rest upon the Son and is manifest through him (separating what is essential from what is energetic) in order to avoid any potential subordination of the Spirit or implication that His unity is inferior, while at the same time admitting an eternal relationship (not of origin but of action) between the Son and Holy Spirit.

So why does the Father work through the Son to cause (for lack of a better term) the Holy Spirit, by energies, in Orthodoxy?

And for clarity when you use the word “energy,” as a Roman Catholic do I understand that in my language as essence or substance, etc…?

Actually, yes. St. John of Damascus in his philosophical chapters writes of five kinds of priority: priority in time, priority of nature, priority of number, priority of dignity, and priority of causality. Of the fifth, he gives the example of the Father who is prior to the Son as cause, even though he is not prior in time or in nature (meaning that he would be some sort of genus or species of the Son) to the Son. The objection is that giving priority of cause to the unity between the Father and Son, would show them to be somehow superior in their oneness with each other than the Holy Spirit’s oneness with them, as one seems to cause the other.

Thanks for the source, going to devote sometime reading that (I love philosophy, if the screen name didn’t already give that away :smiley: .)

The Eastern Fathers expressed a certain ordering or taxis of the Trinitarian persons in order to show the oneness of their operation. They would often express this in formulas like, the energy is willed by the Father, prepared by the Son and delivered by the Holy Spirit, in a manner that each personal action does not imply composition or disunity in the whole operation (so in other words, they act in different manners, simultaneously, so every action of the Trinity is one, not three). It is a consequence of the insistence that all grace flows from the Father, through the Son and in the Holy Spirit.

Surprisingly, the Orthodox understand energy in a very Aristotelian manner (Aristotle himself likely coined the term). It has a whole range of meanings depending on the context. Sometimes it means actuality, when it is being contrasted with potentiality. Sometimes it simply means action or operation. Sometimes Aristotle contrasts it with his concept of motion (kinesis). It can also mean activity as opposed to passivity (so iron, for example, has the potential to be heated which the activity/actuality/energy of the fire works in the iron, so that the iron becomes red hot).

One main difference in how we view energy/actuality/operation/etc. would be the idea that the essence and the energies of God are not the same (as opposed to the idea in Thomism that God’s essence is identical with his acts and properties), which goes back to the Eastern Fathers who posited that the essence of God is unknowable in order to protect the transcendence of God and to preserve divine simplicity (which is somewhat ironic, since one of the main disagreements between Thomism and Eastern theology hinges upon divine simplicity).

If you do a search for The Fount of Knowledge (written by St. John of Damascus) on Amazon or some other book store, the first book that should pop up is a reprint of a complete English translation of the work (made up of three individual works: The Philosophical Chapters, On Heresies, and On the Orthodox Faith) originally published in the 1950s. One can hardly argue with the 17 US dollar price tag on the book.

Thanks for taking the time to answer my questions, I have an extremely better grasp on the issue.

If you do a search for The Fount of Knowledge (written by St. John of Damascus) on Amazon or some other book store, the first book that should pop up is a reprint of a complete English translation of the work (made up of three individual works: The Philosophical Chapters, On Heresies, and On the Orthodox Faith) originally published in the 1950s. One can hardly argue with the 17 US dollar price tag on the book.

Definitely ordering it, thanks. Now when I’m going to read it is another issue when I have a library to read still, another one added to the queue.

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