Does "essence" mean the same thing in Orthodoxy as it does in Roman Catholicism?
#1
I ask this in the context of the Eastern Orthodox essence-energies distinction, especially as it relates to the de fide dogma of the beholding of the divine essence in the Beatific Vision. I have started practicing Byzantine-style and need to make sure I'm not accidentally slipping into some sort of heresy.
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#2
Anthony, I am not an expert but I was Orthodox for a time.  I believe the Orthodox teach that we will not see God's essence even in heaven; we will only experience His energies.  His essence is inaccessible to us.  This is contrary to Catholic teaching, that we behold the essence of God in the beatific vision.

It may be, therefore, that Catholics and Orthodox are talking about something different when they discuss the essence of God.  Or they may mean the same thing and only differ as to whether we will see it.
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#3
Video 
I'm a contributor for a Catholic YouTube show called "Reason and Theology." There are several videos on there discussing the essence-energies distinction.









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#4
Does "essence" mean the same thing in Orthodoxy as it does in Roman Catholicism?

To understand Orthodox thinking on this it is helpful to keep certain terms in mind:

OUSIA - ESSENCE/BEING
PHYSIS - NATURE/CHARACTERISTICS
ENERGIA - ENERGIES/ACTIONS
HYPOSTASIS - PERSON/FUNDAMENTAL BASIS
PROSOPON - FACE

There are two meanings of OUSIA - Commonly in ancient times, it meant WEALTH - And in Orthodoxy, this is the major meaning it carries, but of course spiritualized apophatically... In a certain sense, it is not definable in any philosophical sense except by denial of attribution... God, for instance, is given the "attribute" of timelessness, and we try to cognitively encompass this to mean that just as we experience time as ongoing, timelessness "means" this ongoingness as being without beginning and without end, and by this we think we "know" what God's timelessness "is"... And then we can go on to ascribe all manner of "divine attributes" to God, and build up a great vocabulary of verbs and nouns and qualities and measurements, and call ourselves "theologians"... All of which are false, because God is not created, but is the Creator of "ongoingness", and this ongoingness is subject to Him, and not He to it... So we end up in vanity of intellect - Nothing new here, yes? :)

But another meaning of OUSIA is ESSENCE, and this understood as the core, or the fundamental principle of something... In the Aristotelian sense, it is TO TI ESTAN EINAI - The What it Was Being to Be - And one of the great Catholic Philosophers, Joseph Owens, saw this as pure ACT, in his PhD Thesis titled The Doctrine of Being in the Aristotelian Metaphysics... He took forever to write it, and I do not think he deduced his conclusion, but instead was given a vision of God from God and looked for its predecessor in Aristotle... Yet that vision, while it is of God from God, and indeed IS God, is given to man to know the Power of God in Creation... In other words, it is the Creative Power of God creating creation, in which man will participate in the Age to Come... It is a primal Power that has no restrictions and cannot have any, and it is from God, and is God acting in Creation... And beyond it we cannot go...

We can know God qua this "ousia" and still live, even in this fallen Creation... But as God said to Moses, no man can see My Face and live... We can only see His Backward Parts, by God's condescension... "Being as Act", in Orthodox terms, is the ENERGIA of God, and is NOT His OUSIA as His fundamental feature that accounts for all the rest that God is... In fact this latter is not even capable of being attributed to God... We simply cannot know Him as He Knows Himself, except in His Creation Energies, in which He created us to partake as His Holy Ones as being One with the Son... (No small matter!)

So we are working with two very differing understandings of ESSENCE, and two very different usages of terms, yet from the same Vision, divergently accounted...

The TEST, for the Orthodox, comes in the PARTAKING, because for us, the experience of the Church across thousands of years, shows the Beautific Vision to be nothing less than the Marriage, the conjoining, of God and Man in fallen creation, which transforms that man to whom it happens, into something more that merely a fallen human being... "And this is Life Eternal, to KNOW the One True God..." (John's Gospel). And the whole of discipleship is oriented toward preparation for this KNOWING which only God CAN bestow by His Gracious Lovingkindness...

You see, we can only KNOW God qua Creation because we are created... And the Marriage of the Lamb is the Mystery of the Bridge, for Christ is both Created and Uncreated... "For I said 'Ye are gods, and what is written cannot be unwritten'..." So the TEST is in ourselves, for if we are given this Beautific Vision, we are transformed, and this transformation leaves us still alive and fallen in fallen creation, except now with certain enhanced Gifts of the Holy Spirit... Padre Pio 'took' his own father's last confession without his father giving it, but only assenting to Padre Pio's giving of it TO him... Yet Padre Pio is not God, but had been given an earnest of the WEALTH of God regarding Creation, you see... Had he been given union with God's "Fundamental Essence", he would then BE God, and this no man except Jesus Christ has EVER been...

Talking about God is not easy in these matters...

Arsenios
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#5
(01-20-2021, 03:08 PM)Evangelium Wrote: Anthony, I am not an expert but I was Orthodox for a time.  I believe the Orthodox teach that we will not see God's essence even in heaven; we will only experience His energies.  His essence is inaccessible to us.  This is contrary to Catholic teaching, that we behold the essence of God in the beatific vision.
I suppose you ought to inform your Byzantine Catholic hierarchy that they are in heresy, since they hold the same exact theology and celebrate a fixed feast for St. Gregory Palamas on their calendars.
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#6
From the Catechism of the Catholic Church:

Quote:1027 This mystery of blessed communion with God and all who are in Christ is beyond all understanding and description. Scripture speaks of it in images: life, light, peace, wedding feast, wine of the kingdom, the Father's house, the heavenly Jerusalem, paradise: "no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man conceived, what God has prepared for those who love him."601

1028 Because of his transcendence, God cannot be seen as he is, unless he himself opens up his mystery to man's immediate contemplation and gives him the capacity for it. The Church calls this contemplation of God in his heavenly glory "the beatific vision":

How great will your glory and happiness be, to be allowed to see God, to be honored with sharing the joy of salvation and eternal light with Christ your Lord and God, . . . to delight in the joy of immortality in the Kingdom of heaven with the righteous and God's friends.602
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#7
(01-20-2021, 10:50 PM)Echo Wrote: I'm a contributor for a Catholic YouTube show called "Reason and Theology." There are several videos on there discussing the essence-energies distinction.

If you are a contributor, can you explain to me then why Lofton is so hostile to sedevacantism? It seems he would rather convert to Orthodoxy, Protestantism, or Islam than ever entertain the ideas of sedevacantism.
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#8
(01-27-2021, 01:53 PM)austenbosten Wrote:
(01-20-2021, 10:50 PM)Echo Wrote: I'm a contributor for a Catholic YouTube show called "Reason and Theology." There are several videos on there discussing the essence-energies distinction.

If you are a contributor, can you explain to me then why Lofton is so hostile to sedevacantism?  It seems he would rather convert to Orthodoxy, Protestantism, or Islam than ever entertain the ideas of sedevacantism.

Out of curiosity, why would sedevacantism be preferable to Orthodoxy?  If the official Catholic Church is also the actual Catholic Church, then wouldn't sedevacantism be just as schismatic as the Orthodox?
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#9
(01-27-2021, 02:31 PM)Melkite Wrote:
(01-27-2021, 01:53 PM)austenbosten Wrote:
(01-20-2021, 10:50 PM)Echo Wrote: I'm a contributor for a Catholic YouTube show called "Reason and Theology." There are several videos on there discussing the essence-energies distinction.

If you are a contributor, can you explain to me then why Lofton is so hostile to sedevacantism?  It seems he would rather convert to Orthodoxy, Protestantism, or Islam than ever entertain the ideas of sedevacantism.

Out of curiosity, why would sedevacantism be preferable to Orthodoxy?  If the official Catholic Church is also the actual Catholic Church, then wouldn't sedevacantism be just as schismatic as the Orthodox?

Sedevacantists would espouse 6 decades of erroneous teachings at most, compared to the 966 years of erroneous schismatic teaching.
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#10
(01-27-2021, 02:46 PM)ChairmanJoeAintMyPresident Wrote:
(01-27-2021, 02:31 PM)Melkite Wrote:
(01-27-2021, 01:53 PM)austenbosten Wrote:
(01-20-2021, 10:50 PM)Echo Wrote: I'm a contributor for a Catholic YouTube show called "Reason and Theology." There are several videos on there discussing the essence-energies distinction.

If you are a contributor, can you explain to me then why Lofton is so hostile to sedevacantism?  It seems he would rather convert to Orthodoxy, Protestantism, or Islam than ever entertain the ideas of sedevacantism.

Out of curiosity, why would sedevacantism be preferable to Orthodoxy?  If the official Catholic Church is also the actual Catholic Church, then wouldn't sedevacantism be just as schismatic as the Orthodox?

Sedevacantists would espouse 6 decades of erroneous teachings at most, compared to the 966 years of erroneous schismatic teaching.

Schism is one of those things that's black or white.  You're either in or out.  It's not mitigated by length of time. 

I'd also argue there's no such thing as schismatic teaching.  There's heretical teaching taught by schismatics, and non-heretical teaching taught by schismatics.

ETA: with both groups, you have heretical teaching on the papacy, and everything else is pretty much orthodox.
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