How to respond to Orthodox criticism of 'created grace' in Catholicism?
#41
(06-25-2017, 04:26 PM)Guingamp Wrote: [quote='richgr' pid='1346459' dateline='1498419413'](...)Yes, there are many versions of thomism, I do not deny that. However, I think that Garrigou-Lagrange's dilemma is absolutely valid. He claims that according to thomist metaphysics no potency can become actual without being realized by something in act. The human will is in potency before man decides to do anything. So, what or who acts upon the human will, so that the human will become actual? Please explain that to me.

Isn't the concept of 'middle knowledge' by Molina a pretty good solution to this dilemma? I'm very symapthetic to Molinism, meditating its ideas feels like reading a great Science Fiction novel :-)

Quote:According to the doctrine of Molinism, God can actualize a world where His will is brought about by the free decisions of creatures, but in order to make this claim, contemporary Molinists have had to distinguish between strong and weak actualization. Strong actualization refers to the efforts of a being when it causally determines the occurrence of an event (e.g., Godcauses something to happen), while weak actualization refers to the contribution of a being to the occurrence of an event by placement of a free creature in circumstances in which he will freely cause the event. Weak actualization has proven to be a powerful tool for understanding the relationship between God's providence and human freedom. 

Gesendet von meinem SM-J510FN mit Tapatalk
"Cor Jesu Rex Et Centrum Omnium Cordium, miserére nobis "

“To pray is to shed blood.” - Silouan the Athonite
Reply
#42
(06-27-2017, 04:18 AM)JosefSilouan Wrote: Isn't the concept of 'middle knowledge' by Molina a pretty good solution to this dilemma? I'm very symapthetic to Molinism, meditating its ideas feels like reading a great Science Fiction novel :-)
I believe that scientia media does not work for two reasons. Molina works in a thomist framework, so he has to maintain the idea of god as being pure act and that his will is equal to his essence. The question now is: Who or what actualizes the potency of the human will according to Molina? Is it God? If it is God, then we have predetermination and the dominicans are right. If it is the human himself, then we have destroyed the idea that only something in act can actualize a potency because the human will before the determination is in potency and nothing in potency can actualize itself. Furthermore, God would be to some degree in potency because his knowledge of our behavior would be dependent upon our (metaphysically impossible) self-actualization. That would mean that our decision affects the divine essence!
The second reason is that according to Molina, God foreknows our decision by knowing all possibilites and our decision can be foreknown because the possible circumstances allow him this knowledge. But if that would be right, than the circumstances determine our decision. God does not guess, he does not think before our determination, that this or that behavior would be probable; he already knows it and if the knowledge of the circumstances allows him this knowledge infallibly, than we cannot be free. 

I know that I will be criticized by the thomists but I am pretty sure that the equalization of God's will and knowledge with his essence forces us to teach a doctrine of predestination that is very close to the jansenist-calvinist-lutherian conception. 

What's my own view? I do not know right know but I think that thomism as a whole does not work because the idea that God's will is equal to his essence destroys neccesarily any idea of liberty that is not totally unequal to any notion of liberty we usually maintain. Thomism, viz. the centrality of the idea of God as an actus purus, here I agree with Garrigou-Lagrange, leads us to the idea of predetermination -- but, and here I disagree with Garrigou-Lagrange, this idea is incompatible with the idea of free will.
Reply
#43
This debate has got me digging deep trying to seriously engage with both Aquinas and the Scholastic Tradition as well as the various Eastern Fathers that appear to teach something akin to the Essence/Energies distinction such as St. John of Damascus, St. Basil the Great and St Gregory of Palamas. It's a rich topic.
Walk before God in simplicity, and not in subtleties of the mind. Simplicity brings faith; but subtle and intricate speculations bring conceit; and conceit brings withdrawal from God. -Saint Isaac of Syria, Directions on Spiritual Training


"It is impossible in human terms to exaggerate the importance of being in a church or chapel before the Blessed Sacrament as often and for as long as our duties and state of life allow. I very seldom repeat what I say. Let me repeat this sentence. It is impossible in human language to exaggerate the importance of being in a chapel or church before the Blessed Sacrament as often and for as long as our duties and state of life allow. That sentence is the talisman of the highest sanctity. "Father John Hardon
Reply
#44
(06-27-2017, 10:18 PM)formerbuddhist Wrote: This debate has got me digging deep trying to seriously engage with both Aquinas and the Scholastic Tradition as well as the various Eastern Fathers that appear to teach something akin to the Essence/Energies distinction such as St. John of Damascus, St. Basil the Great and St Gregory of Palamas. It's a rich topic.
Yes, it is a rich topic and it is in my understanding the main difference because according to Ott it is absolutely certain that the conception of absolute divine simplicity is de fide. So, we cannot construct any kind of bridge between the essence/energia dogma of the orthodox church and the absolute divine simplicity of the catholic church. However, it is interesting that Ott's references for the de fide status of this dogma are the 4th lateran council and the Vatican I, viz. post-schismatic. 

However, it it really interesting to meditate on these subjects and I am currently waiting for my english translation of the works of Gregorius Palamas. Most theologians in Germany I know (and I include professors of dogmatic) in ourdays are maintaining ideas that would horrify both, Palamas and Aquinas. One professor I know (who is, usually, a very faithful man and a much better christian than I am) said that for example God's eternity only means that God keeps his promises throughout history. Another professor (also a very faithful christian) believes that our behavior as humans can "surprise" God and that even God himself will be different in the end of times.
Reply
#45
(06-28-2017, 04:37 AM)Guingamp Wrote: Yes, it is a rich topic and it is in my understanding the main difference because according to Ott it is absolutely certain that the conception of absolute divine simplicity is de fide. So, we cannot construct any kind of bridge between the essence/energia dogma of the orthodox church and the absolute divine simplicity of the catholic church. However, it is interesting that Ott's references for the de fide status of this dogma are the 4th lateran council and the Vatican I, viz. post-schismatic.

I think the question is not if we should affirm Divine simplicity or not. The Orthodox would wholeheartedly agree that Divine simplicity is a dogma, even if it wasn't officially proclaimed until the 4th Lateran Council.

Palamas himself affirms divine simplicity, but claims that his theory doesn't violate this principle.

So, the real question is this:


Is it an admissible theological opinion to claim that the essence/energy-distinction doesn't violate the principle of divine simlicity?
The opinion would be admissible if is hasn't been condemned by the magisterium (1) or doesn't self-evidently contradict a de-fide Dogma (2).

1) There has been no (direct) official condemnation of Palamas teaching.

2) Most (Orthodox) theologians who studied Palamas concluded that his teaching doesn't contradict divine simplicity….otherwise they would have rejected it. There are some statements by St. John of the Cross about divinization, approved by the magisterium, which are very similar to what Palamas said. JPII is said to have had a private devotion to Palamas, which means he probably didn't consider him a heretic. --- These arguments make it clear that the answer to our dilemma is not "self-evident" (although they do not tell us anything about the truth).

So, I guess you can hold Palamas' views as a Catholic without being a heretic. But I'm not sure.. I would like to have a clear answer to this question, as I deem it very relevant to my spiritual life. If his theology indeed was heretical, I would reject it out of obedience to our tradition.
"Cor Jesu Rex Et Centrum Omnium Cordium, miserére nobis "

“To pray is to shed blood.” - Silouan the Athonite
Reply
#46
(06-28-2017, 05:59 AM)JosefSilouan Wrote: I think the question is not if we should affirm Divine simplicity or not. The Orthodox would wholeheartedly agree that Divine simplicity is a dogma, even if it wasn't officially proclaimed until the 4th Lateran Council.

Palamas himself affirms divine simplicity, but claims that his theory doesn't violate this principle.
But Palamas does not and he cannot affirm the principle of absolute divine simplicity. Absolute divine simplicity means that God is what he does. So his will is equal to his essence; for that reason God's will concerning creation is his essence. If there would be no difference between the divine essence and the divine energies, we would participate in the divine essence and that is something Palamas never maintained.
Quote:1) There has been no (direct) official condemnation of Palamas teaching.
That is -- as much as I know -- absolutely right but there is an implicit conflict between the essence/energy distinction and the catholic idea of divine simplicity.
Quote:2) (...) JPII is said to have had a private devotion to Palamas, which means he probably didn't consider him a heretic. --- These arguments make it clear that the answer to our dilemma is not "self-evident" (although they do not tell us anything about the truth).
I would not accept John Paul II as a model of orthodox catholic theology.  ;)
Reply
#47
(06-28-2017, 06:21 AM)Guingamp Wrote: But Palamas does not and he cannot affirm the principle of absolute divine simplicity. Absolute divine simplicity means that God is what he does. So his will is equal to his essence; for that reason God's will concerning creation is his essence. If there would be no difference between the divine essence and the divine energies, we would participate in the divine essence and that is something Palamas never maintained.

Accprding to Ott, the actual dogma ("substantia seu natura simplex omnino") only says that in God there is no composition of any kind. I think Palamas would have agreed to this statement. Although your reasoning seems to be correct, as far as I can judge. Palamas might have been wrong when claiming that his theory didn't violate divine simplicity.

In found an article on the subject which seems pretty interesting. The author argues that Thomas Aquinas’ account of divine simplicity is compatible with the accounts of divine simplicity given by John Duns Scotus and Gregory Palamas. - The Flexibility of Divine Simplicity: Aquinas, Scotus, Palamas
"Cor Jesu Rex Et Centrum Omnium Cordium, miserére nobis "

“To pray is to shed blood.” - Silouan the Athonite
Reply
#48
(06-28-2017, 09:14 AM)JosefSilouan Wrote:
(06-28-2017, 06:21 AM)Guingamp Wrote: But Palamas does not and he cannot affirm the principle of absolute divine simplicity. Absolute divine simplicity means that God is what he does. So his will is equal to his essence; for that reason God's will concerning creation is his essence. If there would be no difference between the divine essence and the divine energies, we would participate in the divine essence and that is something Palamas never maintained.

Accprding to Ott, the actual dogma ("substantia seu natura simplex omnino") only says that in God there is no composition of any kind. I think Palamas would have agreed to this statement. Although your reasoning seems to be correct, as far as I can judge. Palamas might have been wrong when claiming that his theory didn't violate divine simplicity.

In found an article on the subject which seems pretty interesting. The author argues that Thomas Aquinas’ account of divine simplicity is compatible with the accounts of divine simplicity given by John Duns Scotus and Gregory Palamas. - The Flexibility of Divine Simplicity: Aquinas, Scotus, Palamas

I'm excited to read  that article .
Walk before God in simplicity, and not in subtleties of the mind. Simplicity brings faith; but subtle and intricate speculations bring conceit; and conceit brings withdrawal from God. -Saint Isaac of Syria, Directions on Spiritual Training


"It is impossible in human terms to exaggerate the importance of being in a church or chapel before the Blessed Sacrament as often and for as long as our duties and state of life allow. I very seldom repeat what I say. Let me repeat this sentence. It is impossible in human language to exaggerate the importance of being in a chapel or church before the Blessed Sacrament as often and for as long as our duties and state of life allow. That sentence is the talisman of the highest sanctity. "Father John Hardon
Reply
#49
(06-25-2017, 07:31 AM)formerbuddhist Wrote:
(06-24-2017, 05:27 PM)Echo Wrote:
(06-22-2017, 01:16 PM)formerbuddhist Wrote: The Orthodox position (and Eastern Catholic) seems more intuitively correct to me, but I'm not trained in philosophy or theology.  It seems both the Catholic and the Orthodox side are militantly opposed to each other on this, both saying that their opponents position leads to atheism or agnosticism.Its head spinning in its intricate abstraction.

At least from an intuitive and pragmatic level I think the Essence/Energies distinction and Uncreated grace is much more helpful and less stark than the strict, almost mechanistic Thomist position of grace being some abstract creation that, once lost by sin,plunged the soul into outee darkness lest it redeems itself through sacramental confession.

It seems to be quite a bold claim (in my opinion) that Catholic or Orthodox theology leads to atheism. I've usually found this claim on Orthodox websites or other sources claiming that the rise of atheism in the west is due to the supposed "errors" of Catholic theology, with some people tracing it all the way back to Augustine. If I may ask, who have you seen on the Catholic side make the claim that Orthodox theology leads to atheism?


I'll try to dig it up.  I should have put the source before I posted that. I know definitely that for some Orthodox commentators such as Jay Dyer the claim is made that Thomism has led to atheism. I would like to see him refuted if it is possible. He has a handful of articles on his site where he makes that claim.  I have only begun to seriously try to understand even a bit of Aquinas so I can't say whether he is correct or not, but insofar as I follow his arguments the critiques seem robust and devastating.

It seems like there are quite a lot of problems with the concept of God being an Absolutely Simple Essence. Dyers critique seems to hinge on this concept.
I did some digging around on Google Books and found this from the book Energies of Spirit by Duncan Reid (https://books.google.com/books?id=z-wo7-bQg4oC&pg=PA99&dq=yannaras+western+theology+atheism&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjS4LfYpebUAhWRxiYKHYSpD2gQ6AEIMzAD#v=onepage&q=yannaras%20western%20theology%20atheism&f=false). More or less this shows both sides of the issue can claim their theology leads to atheism.

Quote:The polemics developed by both East and West on this issue can clash in sometimes amusing ways. Christos Yannaras attacks the western concept of actus purus, which, he argues tends to either identify the divine energy with the divine essence itself, or else place it completely outside the essence as something separate. This means for Yannaras that the deification of the human person, our participation in the life of the trinity, becomes impossible. This is, according to Yannaras, the source of western European nihilism and atheism. Bernard Schultze attacks the doctine of energies, which places our access to God in the realm of God's acts but not in the realm of God's essence. This, says Schultze, implies that God is not to be found in receptivity, but only in action. Schultze quotes Michael Bakunin, the nineteenth century Russian anarchist, to prove his point. "God is not experienced through learning or metaphysics, but in deed and revolution." Ascetic activity is replaced by political, revolutionary activity. This for Schultze is the final source of eastern European nihilism and atheism.
Reply




Users browsing this thread: 1 Guest(s)