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Divine Simplicity: East and West


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#1 David Hawthorne

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Posted 18 September 2017 - 01:41 AM

What is the difference between the Eastern and Western conceptions of Divine Simplicity?
 
When did this become a debated issue? Is it a real difference or just something apologists on both sides make an issue of?


#2 Rdr Andreas

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Posted 18 September 2017 - 07:18 PM

Could you say what you mean by 'Divine Simplicity'? It is not a term I have come across.



#3 Rdr Andreas

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Posted 18 September 2017 - 07:59 PM

On reflection, perhaps you mean what the Greeks call, 'aghia aplotis' - or, in Latin, 'sancta simplicitas'. Is that what you mean? If so, I have only come across this in the Greek context but I believe the concept is known in the West. I cannot say what the difference is between eastern and western concepts without looking into it.



#4 Ken McRae

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Posted 19 September 2017 - 01:58 PM

What is the difference between the Eastern and Western conceptions of Divine Simplicity?
 
When did this become a debated issue? Is it a real difference or just something apologists on both sides make an issue of?


Yes, it's definitely a real theological difference, but ever since Vatican II there's been a growing effort among many "Orthodox-leaning" Catholics to  move closer to the Orthodox position, as evidenced by this Catholic article:-

The Distinction between God's Essence and Energy - Catholic-Church
http://www.google.ca...oEmyv4rnIZOGLNQ

So, according to "traditional" Catholics, the Orthodox doctrine of distinction between essence and uncreated energy is a contradiction of the Divine Simplicity; which they tend to view as a greater challenge to re-union than the Filioque.

#5 Rdr Andreas

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Posted 20 September 2017 - 06:43 PM

What Ken refers at the end of his post as the Roman understanding of 'divine simplicity', as relating to God, is not something I have come across. 'Aghia aplotis' refers to the simple faith of a Christian.



#6 Ken McRae

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Posted 24 September 2017 - 07:51 PM

The Distinction between God's Essence and Energy - Catholic-Church http://www.google.ca...oEmyv4rnIZOGLNQ


The following three passages are quoted from the above article, cited earlier:-

1. " 'As partakers of His divine nature (2 Pet 1:4),' we should be aware of the two dimensions of God in Palamism. God, in all His 'divine simplicity', is at the same time both personally imparticipable and personally participable to us. Moreover, this God is constantly seeking a personal union with each of us everywhere through His omnipresent Divine Energies which can be regarded as God-for-us in His participable nature, life or constitution. God’s accessible Energies are not God’s inaccessible Personal Being. God’s imparticipable being, nature, life or constitution remains eternally transcendent and unapproachable in His Divine Essence." [Article Page 10 (100)]

2. "The East and the West use the term ‘divine essence’ in different senses. For example, the understanding in the West that only the souls taken into Heaven can ‘clearly see the Triune God and enjoy the divine essence for all eternity’ (Jesuit Fathers, 1973, 353) represents a significant difference in comprehension regarding the term essence. To Eastern ‘realized eschatology’, the West as a whole has yet to address this divine immanence or promise of God for us to become participants of His nature here on earth in a real, unmediated fashion (cf. Maloney, 1978, pp. 7-123). Moreover, to the East, God’s Divine Essence is eternally imparticapable to us creatures; it is only participable among the Three Divine Persons in Their essential union." [Article Page 13 (103)]

3. "The fear of the modern anti-Palamites is concrete and legitimate: They do not want Western Christianity, for example, to be led astray by a certain resurgence of un-Christian Platonic or neo-Platonic ideology, by an un-Orthodox emanatist doctrine and practice, or by a heretical Palamite distinction which might destroy God’s divine simplicity (Barrois, 1975, 220)." [Article Page 21 (111)]

The "Anti-Palamites" clearly don't accept that St. Gregory's distinction (between God's eternal essence and energy) is Patristic in origin.

As I'm just a humble struggler, (and the furthest thing imaginable from an expert or specialist, in this field of research,) I'm unable to tell you offhand if it (i.e. this distinction) qualifies as a later "development" in Orthodox theology; though one that is fullly consistent with, and faithful to the living mind, spirit and tradition of the holy fathers.

However, I both readily and wholly submit myself to the Mind of the Orthodox Church, and her wise judgment in all matters pertaining to the holy Orthodox faith and Patristic Tradition.

#7 Lakis Papas

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Posted 24 September 2017 - 09:06 PM

Vatican Church can not accept divine grace as a matter of substance in the nature of God, for it would destroy the simplicity of the substance of God by making a composition to that.


Edited by Lakis Papas, 24 September 2017 - 09:06 PM.


#8 Rdr Andreas

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Posted 24 September 2017 - 10:36 PM

I think it does not help to quote from Roman material since the Roman confession regards St Gregory Palamas as a heretic whereas the Church dedicates the second Sunday of Great Lent to him.



#9 Lakis Papas

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Posted 24 September 2017 - 10:52 PM

Uncreated energies are the key to unlock the theological question of simplicity. Since Roman theology accepts only created energies, it can not unlock the question.

Edited by Lakis Papas, 24 September 2017 - 10:53 PM.


#10 Rdr Andreas

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Posted 25 September 2017 - 01:16 PM

I knew someone who was described by a Greek bishop as having aghia aplotis, This woman had read nothing of theology but was granted great grace and had experiences of the Uncreated Light.



#11 Ken McRae

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Posted 25 September 2017 - 04:51 PM

I think it does not help to quote from Roman material since the Roman confession regards St Gregory Palamas as a heretic ...


The Roman material was quoted first because the question asked about the Western view or meaning of the Divine Simplicity; and, secondarily, to point out the present reality or fact that there is a growing movement within the contemporary Roman schism to reconsider the overall merits of Orthodox theology and spirituality.

IOW, to show you where the low-hanging fruit is, and that a good number of those won't hold their breath waiting for a fantasy reunion, but will convert to Orthodoxy once they exhaust their "intellectual" power in pursuit of a scholastic solution to their personal crisis.

It makes no sense to me to even discuss anything about Western viewpoints if reference to Roman writtings are forbidden on this site. Why not just say outright that any discussion of the West, even negative criticism of it, is outright banned on this site?

#12 Rdr Andreas

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Posted 26 September 2017 - 09:59 PM

I don't think some mention of Roman positions is 'forbidden' but at the same time, this is not a site for comparisons if one has regard to the basis of the site: the study of Orthodoxy through patristic, monastic, and liturgical study.






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