A question for EOx


#1

I’ve been reading and profiting from the four-volume work on Orthodox Psychology by Bishop Chrysostomos, and have a question about terminology.

He (and Lossky if I remember) use the term ‘Energies’ quite often - usually ‘God’s energies’. I take the term to mean - well, I’m not sure. Can you 'splain it to me? Thanks.


#2

Hi DaveB.
It’s really simple. In Eastern Orthodox theology, God is the great mystery. But we strive to grow in Christ though a process called Theosis in Eastern Orthodox theology or Sanctification in Anglican theology. Since we can’t take part in God’s essence, we take part in God’s energies. Hence, a Saint in Eastern Orthodox tradition (or Roman Catholic or other traditions), becomes full of the energies. Let me give you some links to read more about it:

Essence–Energies distinction (Eastern Orthodox theology)
Essence–Energies distinction
Essences and Energies

But I go beyond Eastern Orthodoxy theology, in saying that I agree with the Native American position. All of nature and genuine healers, partake of God’s energies. See Native American Healing Tradition


#3

I have the need to read. Thanks Randy.


#4

Yep, that first link WAS really simple. Haha. :unamused:
BUT - it was a good intro to the ideas involved. This will take much thought.


#5

Hi DavsD. Le’ts simplify it a bit with Deification is possible through the uncreated energies of God. Think of God’s essence and energy, as 2 sides of the same coin. But we can only partake of the energy (i.e. tails) side of the coin. Let me quote the article in part:

Or let me put in into Plato’s theory of Forms. We can think of God’s essence as the Idea Platonic form. But the form (energies), as the crystallization of the ideal form. But they are 2 sides of the same coin.


#6

Good illustration. I ‘get’ the concept, but as you know, I’m sure, the concept goes in many directions - toward pantheism, towards panentheism especially, towards (possibly) the ‘re-enchantment of the world’ in a pagan or baptized-pagan worldview.

Just as I do understand trinitarianism without ‘believing’ in it, but do see the need for the hypothesis to fulfill human needs for transcendence, for immanence, for presence - in the same way, I am close to understanding ‘energies’ without yet ‘believing’ in them, but see the need for the same reasons as for the Trinity.

Did I express that clearly?


#7

You are getting there, DaveB. Just read and reflect on the links I’ve provided. Including the Native American Medicine Man, speaking at the Theosophical Society at Native American Healing Tradition. He talks about energy a lot - in simple terms. Just scroll down the page, to start the video replay. Or since it’s on YouTube - watch it here.


#8

Thanks for the links, Randy.

Some observations:

“Uncreated Energies” = grace

We Orthodox are aghast at the concept of grace being something that God created. God, not a created something, is our Savior.

The 9th Ecumenical Council (held intermittently in Constantinople in 1341-1351) hammered-out the terminological precision explaining the Uncreated Energies. St. Gregory Palamas of Thessaloniki was the great saint of that council.

Through participation in God’s Uncreated Energies, we become by grace what God is by nature. We become (in the words of St. Peter) “partakers of the Divine Nature”. The distinction between the Holy Trinity (as the necessary Creator) and deified men (as contingent creations) is forever maintained.

The light of Christ at His Transfiguration was the Uncreated Energies, which are also depicted in saints’ halos in icons.


#9

I watched the Native American talk - interesting, I will have to consider it down the road. The ‘energies/essence’ subject will keep me focused for awhile at least.


#10

God’s Essence is forever unknowable/transcendent. God’s Energies are forever knowable/immanent.


#11

Here’s an interesting video I’ve found, to show different ways to view Theosis. I also like the concept of “Kingdom Superhero”:


#12

Another intriguing question/concept that reading Lossky has brought to mind: apophatic mysticism.

It’s a complicated concept, which Lossky admits, and takes some pretty fancy verbal footwork to explain. (I just made up ‘verbal footwork’ and I’m danged proud of it). As I understand it, it has much in common with non-Christian mysticism as practiced by meditators of various stripe; in fact, I was once one of those stripes and so have a little first-hand experience with it - emptying, the experience of Nothingness etc.

Can something positive be said of this apophatic approach? According to Lossky, it is the foundation of EOx theology and therefore of EOx experience. I’d like to hear from someone that can explain it.

I am however particularly drawn to Buber’s phrase and the idea behind it " “This is Thou; this also is not Thou”. Seems to capture the positive AND the negative.