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Divine Energies

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  • Rev. Jon M. Ellingworth
    Ok, here s a question. What do Orthodox mean, exactly, by the term Divine Energies ? What are they? Where is this taught / explained -- in Scripture (this
    Message 1 of 7 , Mar 3, 2009
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      Ok, here's a question.

      What do Orthodox mean, exactly, by the term "Divine Energies"?

      What are they? Where is this taught / explained -- in Scripture (this will naturally be the most satisfying for me) and / or in the fathers?

      Jon

      +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

      "He can no longer have God for his Father, who has not
      the Church for his mother." - St. Cyprian of Carthage

      "O wondrous mystery! One is the Father of all, one also
      the Word of all,and the Holy Spirit is one and the same
      everywhere. And there is only one Virgin Mother;I love to
      call her the Church." - St. Clement of Alexandria

      Rev. Jon M. Ellingworth

      The Lutheran Church of Christ the King
      14 Pine Drive Pawling, NY 12564

      Office 845.855.3169
      Home 845.855.2616
      E-Mail didache@...
      E-Mail pawlinglutheran@...
      Web http://www.pawlinglutheran.org
      Blog http://www.lesteverymanbeblind.blogspot.com

      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • Christopher Orr
      From Fr. Thomas Hopko: Gregory Palamas ... From The Orthodox Way by Bp. Kallistos Ware:
      Message 2 of 7 , Mar 3, 2009
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        From Fr. Thomas Hopko:

        Gregory Palamas
        >
        > The fourteenth century was the time of the Palamite controversy in the
        > Eastern Church. Gregory Palamas (d.1359) was a monk of Mount Athos. He was
        > a practitioner of the method of prayer called hesychasm (hesychia means
        > silence). By this method the person utilizes a rigorous bodily discipline
        > in order to unite his mind and heart in God through continuous repetition of
        > the name of Jesus, usually in the form of the Jesus Prayer: Lord Jesus
        > Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me a sinner. Through the use of this
        > method of prayer the hesychast monks claimed to gain genuine communion with
        > God, including the spiritual vision of the Uncreated Light of Divinity such
        > as that seen by Moses on Mount Sinai, and the apostles of Christ at the
        > transfiguration of the Lord on Mount Tabor.
        >
        > In 1326 the Calabrian Barlaam, a Greek uniate and a representative of the
        > emerging humanist tradition of the Western renaissance, came to
        > Constantinople. Barlaam and some Byzantine humanists who were highly
        > influenced by Western philosophical and theological ideas, ridiculed the
        > practice of hesychast prayer. They generally denied the possibility for men
        > to be in genuine union with God. In 1333 Gregory Palamas confronted
        > Barlaam's position and defended hesychasm. He established the Orthodox
        > doctrine that man can truly know God and can enter into communion with Him
        > through Christ and the Holy Spirit in the Church.
        >
        > Essence and Energy
        >
        > A council in 1346 upheld Gregory's teaching. The holy monk made his famous
        > distinction between the unknowable and incomprehensible Essence or Super-essence
        > of God, and the actions, operations, or energies of God which are truly
        > uncreated and divine (such as the divine light). These energies are
        > communicated to men by divine grace and are open to human participation,
        > knowledge, and experience.
        >
        > After some years of political turmoil and theological controversy, councils
        > held in 1347 and in 1351 (the year that Gregory became archbishop of
        > Thessalonica) again upheld Gregory's position as exactly that of the Bible
        > and the Tradition of the Orthodox Church. Since that time the theological
        > distinction between the divine Superessence and the divine energies has
        > become an official part of the doctrine of the Orthodox Church. Gregory
        > Palamas was canonized a saint of the Orthodox Church in 1368 just nine years
        > after his death.
        >
        > http://www.oca.org/OCchapter.asp?SID=2&ID=147



        From "The Orthodox Way" by Bp. Kallistos Ware:

        http://books.google.com/books?id=HG8c-lUZIDEC&pg=PA22&lpg=PA22&dq=%22divine+energies%22&source=bl&ots=pptLlUG26T&sig=Ck1r8nN62fiwcLelTnO7WvJ8wqU&hl=en&ei=fHCtSc1toZu3B_DkkIUG&sa=X&oi=book_result&resnum=43&ct=result#PPA21,M1
        >


        "The Concept of the Divine Energies" by David Bradshaw:

        http://www.uky.edu/~dbradsh/papers/Concept%20of%20the%20Divine%20Energies.doc
        >



        On Essences and Energies from *The Mystical Theology of the Eastern
        Church*by Vladimir Lossky:

        http://www.myriobiblos.gr/texts/english/lossky_essences.html
        >


        From "Light from the Christian East: An Introduction to the Orthodox
        Tradition" by James R. Payton:

        http://books.google.com/books?id=khL2qJ7gLPwC&pg=PA163&lpg=PA163&dq=%22divine+energies%22&source=bl&ots=FGWFGaPSF0&sig=V0GzZkny6Ih8YKeoH-LemAxQ6dU&hl=en&ei=fHCtSc1toZu3B_DkkIUG&sa=X&oi=book_result&resnum=27&ct=result
        >


        Christopher



        On Tue, Mar 3, 2009 at 12:46 PM, Rev. Jon M. Ellingworth <
        didache@...> wrote:

        > Ok, here's a question.
        >
        > What do Orthodox mean, exactly, by the term "Divine Energies"?
        >
        > What are they? Where is this taught / explained -- in Scripture (this will
        > naturally be the most satisfying for me) and / or in the fathers?
        >
        > Jon
        >
        > +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
        >
        > "He can no longer have God for his Father, who has not
        > the Church for his mother." - St. Cyprian of Carthage
        >
        > "O wondrous mystery! One is the Father of all, one also
        > the Word of all,and the Holy Spirit is one and the same
        > everywhere. And there is only one Virgin Mother;I love to
        > call her the Church." - St. Clement of Alexandria
        >
        > Rev. Jon M. Ellingworth
        >
        > The Lutheran Church of Christ the King
        > 14 Pine Drive Pawling, NY 12564
        >
        > Office 845.855.3169
        > Home 845.855.2616
        > E-Mail didache@... <didache%40earthlink.net>
        > E-Mail pawlinglutheran@... <pawlinglutheran%40verizon.net>
        > Web http://www.pawlinglutheran.org
        > Blog http://www.lesteverymanbeblind.blogspot.com
        >
        > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        >
        >
        >


        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      • Rev. Jon M. Ellingworth
        Thank you for the catena. The doctrine of Divine Energies is about the most exotic thing I ve encountered investigating Orthodoxy. I will read the passages
        Message 3 of 7 , Mar 3, 2009
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          Thank you for the catena.

          The doctrine of Divine Energies is about the most exotic thing I've encountered investigating Orthodoxy. I will read the passages you've noted. At first glance, this sounds like a combination of Scholasticism / Mystical Theology / and just good old fashioned Enthusiasm. But, that's not giving the doctrine a fair shake, so I'll chew on it a bit.

          Next question: How many angels *can* fit on the head of a pin? -- Just kidding.

          Jon

          +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

          "He can no longer have God for his Father, who has not
          the Church for his mother." - St. Cyprian of Carthage

          "O wondrous mystery! One is the Father of all, one also
          the Word of all,and the Holy Spirit is one and the same
          everywhere. And there is only one Virgin Mother;I love to
          call her the Church." - St. Clement of Alexandria

          Rev. Jon M. Ellingworth

          The Lutheran Church of Christ the King
          14 Pine Drive Pawling, NY 12564

          Office 845.855.3169
          Home 845.855.2616
          E-Mail didache@...
          E-Mail pawlinglutheran@...
          Web http://www.pawlinglutheran.org
          Blog http://www.lesteverymanbeblind.blogspot.com

          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        • Christopher Orr
          Here are a few other resources, in no particular order of significance: http://sgpm.goarch.org/Monastery/index.php?page_id=32 ... You are quite correct that
          Message 4 of 7 , Mar 3, 2009
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            Here are a few other resources, in no particular order of significance:

            http://sgpm.goarch.org/Monastery/index.php?page_id=32
            > http://sgpm.goarch.org/Monastery/index.php?page_id=33
            > http://sgpm.goarch.org/Monastery/index.php?cat=12
            >
            >
            > http://www.monachos.net/content/patristics/studies-fathers/61-gregory-palamas-an-historical-overview
            >
            > http://jbburnett.com/resources/florovsky/1/florovsky_1-7-palamas.pdf
            >
            >
            > http://books.google.com/books?id=Bw5C8_fgQRYC&pg=PA234&lpg=PA234&dq=orthodox+palamas+not+innovation&source=bl&ots=3upG-qLOKq&sig=i-bmgIXmivQ72DBF2Sx7PB9SlM8&hl=en&ei=SJWtSe6-B4H8tgf0-JmABg&sa=X&oi=book_result&resnum=26&ct=result
            >
            >
            > http://books.google.com/books?id=3qEJ2WW-cBUC&pg=PA82&lpg=PA82&dq=orthodox+palamas+not+innovation&source=bl&ots=IsRT6epFqn&sig=nUUr_S3a59Is6JBa4mhsvoVcaE4&hl=en&ei=SJWtSe6-B4H8tgf0-JmABg&sa=X&oi=book_result&resnum=5&ct=result#PPA82,M1
            >
            >
            > http://www.vic.com/~tscon/pelagia/htm/b16.en.saint_gregory_palamas_as_a_hagiorite.13.htm
            >
            > http://www.orthodoxinfo.com/phronema/sgpm_sermon.aspx
            >
            > http://lent.goarch.org/saint_gregory_palamas/learn/
            >
            >
            > http://www.monachos.net/content/patristics/patristictexts/161-palamas-homily-dormition
            >
            >
            > http://www.monachos.net/content/patristics/patristictexts/160-palamas-on-icons
            >
            > http://books.google.com/books?q=gregory+palamas&btnG=Search+Books
            >

            You are quite correct that 'Palamism' is exotic for a Westerner. It
            breathes the rarefied air of a Maximus Confessor and requires a pretty solid
            grounding in philosophical categories to be able to understand what the heck
            he is talking about - not that he is beholden to the categories themselves,
            but he uses them to try and explain what is know through direct experience,
            prayer, the vision of God, etc. rather than from books beholden to the
            categories mentioned.

            He is not a light read, but he is 'essential'. :)

            Christopher


            On Tue, Mar 3, 2009 at 3:35 PM, Rev. Jon M. Ellingworth <
            didache@...> wrote:

            > Thank you for the catena.
            >
            > The doctrine of Divine Energies is about the most exotic thing I've
            > encountered investigating Orthodoxy. I will read the passages you've noted.
            > At first glance, this sounds like a combination of Scholasticism / Mystical
            > Theology / and just good old fashioned Enthusiasm. But, that's not giving
            > the doctrine a fair shake, so I'll chew on it a bit.
            >
            > Next question: How many angels *can* fit on the head of a pin? -- Just
            > kidding.
            >
            >
            > Jon
            >
            > +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
            >
            > "He can no longer have God for his Father, who has not
            > the Church for his mother." - St. Cyprian of Carthage
            >
            > "O wondrous mystery! One is the Father of all, one also
            > the Word of all,and the Holy Spirit is one and the same
            > everywhere. And there is only one Virgin Mother;I love to
            > call her the Church." - St. Clement of Alexandria
            >
            > Rev. Jon M. Ellingworth
            >
            > The Lutheran Church of Christ the King
            > 14 Pine Drive Pawling, NY 12564
            >
            > Office 845.855.3169
            > Home 845.855.2616
            > E-Mail didache@... <didache%40earthlink.net>
            > E-Mail pawlinglutheran@... <pawlinglutheran%40verizon.net>
            > Web http://www.pawlinglutheran.org
            > Blog http://www.lesteverymanbeblind.blogspot.com
            >
            > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
            >
            >
            >


            [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
          • tantuslabor
            For those who are interested, on my blog I m posting an excerpt from St. Gregory Palamas 150 Chapters on the energies of God. The unworthy priest, Fr.
            Message 5 of 7 , Mar 3, 2009
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              For those who are interested, on my blog I'm posting an excerpt from
              St. Gregory Palamas' "150 Chapters" on the energies of God.

              The unworthy priest,

              Fr. Gregory Hogg


              --- In LutheransLookingEast@yahoogroups.com, Christopher Orr
              <xcjorr@...> wrote:
              >
              > Here are a few other resources, in no particular order of significance:
              >
              > http://sgpm.goarch.org/Monastery/index.php?page_id=32
              > > http://sgpm.goarch.org/Monastery/index.php?page_id=33
              > > http://sgpm.goarch.org/Monastery/index.php?cat=12
              > >
              > >
              > >
              http://www.monachos.net/content/patristics/studies-fathers/61-gregory-palamas-an-historical-overview
              > >
              > > http://jbburnett.com/resources/florovsky/1/florovsky_1-7-palamas.pdf
              > >
              > >
              > >
              http://books.google.com/books?id=Bw5C8_fgQRYC&pg=PA234&lpg=PA234&dq=orthodox+palamas+not+innovation&source=bl&ots=3upG-qLOKq&sig=i-bmgIXmivQ72DBF2Sx7PB9SlM8&hl=en&ei=SJWtSe6-B4H8tgf0-JmABg&sa=X&oi=book_result&resnum=26&ct=result
              > >
              > >
              > >
              http://books.google.com/books?id=3qEJ2WW-cBUC&pg=PA82&lpg=PA82&dq=orthodox+palamas+not+innovation&source=bl&ots=IsRT6epFqn&sig=nUUr_S3a59Is6JBa4mhsvoVcaE4&hl=en&ei=SJWtSe6-B4H8tgf0-JmABg&sa=X&oi=book_result&resnum=5&ct=result#PPA82,M1
              > >
              > >
              > >
              http://www.vic.com/~tscon/pelagia/htm/b16.en.saint_gregory_palamas_as_a_hagiorite.13.htm
              > >
              > > http://www.orthodoxinfo.com/phronema/sgpm_sermon.aspx
              > >
              > > http://lent.goarch.org/saint_gregory_palamas/learn/
              > >
              > >
              > >
              http://www.monachos.net/content/patristics/patristictexts/161-palamas-homily-dormition
              > >
              > >
              > >
              http://www.monachos.net/content/patristics/patristictexts/160-palamas-on-icons
              > >
              > > http://books.google.com/books?q=gregory+palamas&btnG=Search+Books
              > >
              >
              > You are quite correct that 'Palamism' is exotic for a Westerner. It
              > breathes the rarefied air of a Maximus Confessor and requires a
              pretty solid
              > grounding in philosophical categories to be able to understand what
              the heck
              > he is talking about - not that he is beholden to the categories
              themselves,
              > but he uses them to try and explain what is know through direct
              experience,
              > prayer, the vision of God, etc. rather than from books beholden to the
              > categories mentioned.
              >
              > He is not a light read, but he is 'essential'. :)
              >
              > Christopher
              >
              >
              > On Tue, Mar 3, 2009 at 3:35 PM, Rev. Jon M. Ellingworth <
              > didache@...> wrote:
              >
              > > Thank you for the catena.
              > >
              > > The doctrine of Divine Energies is about the most exotic thing I've
              > > encountered investigating Orthodoxy. I will read the passages
              you've noted.
              > > At first glance, this sounds like a combination of Scholasticism /
              Mystical
              > > Theology / and just good old fashioned Enthusiasm. But, that's not
              giving
              > > the doctrine a fair shake, so I'll chew on it a bit.
              > >
              > > Next question: How many angels *can* fit on the head of a pin? -- Just
              > > kidding.
              > >
              > >
              > > Jon
              > >
              > > +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
              > >
              > > "He can no longer have God for his Father, who has not
              > > the Church for his mother." - St. Cyprian of Carthage
              > >
              > > "O wondrous mystery! One is the Father of all, one also
              > > the Word of all,and the Holy Spirit is one and the same
              > > everywhere. And there is only one Virgin Mother;I love to
              > > call her the Church." - St. Clement of Alexandria
              > >
              > > Rev. Jon M. Ellingworth
              > >
              > > The Lutheran Church of Christ the King
              > > 14 Pine Drive Pawling, NY 12564
              > >
              > > Office 845.855.3169
              > > Home 845.855.2616
              > > E-Mail didache@... <didache%40earthlink.net>
              > > E-Mail pawlinglutheran@... <pawlinglutheran%40verizon.net>
              > > Web http://www.pawlinglutheran.org
              > > Blog http://www.lesteverymanbeblind.blogspot.com
              > >
              > > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
              > >
              > >
              > >
              >
              >
              > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
              >
            • randall hay
              The divine energies is not as exotic as they sound. In fact the term in Greek ( energiea ) with its related terms ( energeo, energema ) crop up some twenty
              Message 6 of 7 , Mar 3, 2009
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                The divine energies is not as exotic as they sound. In fact the term in Greek ("energiea") with its related terms ("energeo, energema") crop up some twenty times in the New Testament. Pops up in LXX too. It's a term for God as He works in creation...mistranslated in KJV as "working" or "effectual working."

                Col 2:12, for example, actually reads: ....you were raised with Him through faith in the energy of God, who raised Him from the dead.

                Phil 3:21: Jesus Christ will change our lowly body to be like His glorious body, by the energy which enables Him to subject all things to Himself.

                When God gives us union with Him, for example, it's not with His essence (wich would make us another person of the Trinity) it's union with Him in His energies. His energies are Himself, as He manifests Himself to the world. Likewise His grace, love, goodness and everything He gives us are His energies. It's God Himself, but not His ineffable essence.

                This explains how "no one has ever seen God" according to Scripture, but many people are described as having seen Him, adn Jesus can also say "Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God." We can never see or know His divine essence; but it is possible to see Him as He reveals Himself in His energies, and to know Him in His love, grace etc insofar as us creatures can.

                While He in one, He manifests Himself in different ways, so He is spoken of as having either "energy" or "energies."

                This was the common understanding of the whole church; then the RC began to drift away from it in the Middle Ages, and there was a big doctrinal dispute in the 13th century, in which the RC ended up denying the existence of His energies. The West never managed to recover the Scriptural understanding.

                R.




                ________________________________
                From: Rev. Jon M. Ellingworth <didache@...>
                To: LutheransLookingEast@yahoogroups.com
                Sent: Tuesday, March 3, 2009 3:35:59 PM
                Subject: Re: [LutheransLookingEast] Divine Energies


                Thank you for the catena.

                The doctrine of Divine Energies is about the most exotic thing I've encountered investigating Orthodoxy. I will read the passages you've noted. At first glance, this sounds like a combination of Scholasticism / Mystical Theology / and just good old fashioned Enthusiasm. But, that's not giving the doctrine a fair shake, so I'll chew on it a bit.

                Next question: How many angels *can* fit on the head of a pin? -- Just kidding.

                Jon

                ++++++++++++ +++++++++ +++++++++ +++++++++ ++++++++

                "He can no longer have God for his Father, who has not
                the Church for his mother." - St. Cyprian of Carthage

                "O wondrous mystery! One is the Father of all, one also
                the Word of all,and the Holy Spirit is one and the same
                everywhere. And there is only one Virgin Mother;I love to
                call her the Church." - St. Clement of Alexandria

                Rev. Jon M. Ellingworth

                The Lutheran Church of Christ the King
                14 Pine Drive Pawling, NY 12564

                Office 845.855.3169
                Home 845.855.2616
                E-Mail didache@earthlink. net
                E-Mail pawlinglutheran@ verizon.net
                Web http://www.pawlingl utheran.org
                Blog http://www.lestever ymanbeblind. blogspot. com

                [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]




                [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
              • Rev. Jon M. Ellingworth
                Randall, Thank you for the explanation(s) of the divine energies. You ve given me something a bit more tangible to work with. Very helpful. Jon
                Message 7 of 7 , Mar 3, 2009
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                  Randall,

                  Thank you for the explanation(s) of the divine energies. You've given me something a bit more tangible to work with. Very helpful.

                  Jon

                  +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

                  "He can no longer have God for his Father, who has not
                  the Church for his mother." - St. Cyprian of Carthage

                  "O wondrous mystery! One is the Father of all, one also
                  the Word of all,and the Holy Spirit is one and the same
                  everywhere. And there is only one Virgin Mother;I love to
                  call her the Church." - St. Clement of Alexandria

                  Rev. Jon M. Ellingworth

                  The Lutheran Church of Christ the King
                  14 Pine Drive Pawling, NY 12564

                  Office 845.855.3169
                  Home 845.855.2616
                  E-Mail didache@...
                  E-Mail pawlinglutheran@...
                  Web http://www.pawlinglutheran.org
                  Blog http://www.lesteverymanbeblind.blogspot.com

                  [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
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