Palamas & God’s “Acts of Self-manifestation”

In his Aristotle East and West, David Bradshaw writes, “One way to look at Palamas is as inviting us to reconceive what have traditionally been regarded as distinct categories — the eternal, necessary divine attributes [on the one hand], and contingent, temporal divine divine activities [on the other hand] — as species within a broader genus, that of acts of self-manifestation.” (274)

The context here is that, for Palamas (and Dionysius?) God’s energies are eternal acts of self-manifestation on the part of God that “happen” “within” the Holy Trinity “before creation,” and ad extra trinitatis after creation.

Becuase God’s energies also encompasses inner-Trinitarian manifestation(s) (which, again, along with “contingent, temporal activities” [274] fall under an overarching genus) it is not necessarily the case that the eternality of God’s energeiai implicate Palamas as affirming “a kind of organic unity with the creation” (as Rowan Williams accuses him of  in his 1977 article “The Philosophical Structures of Palamism”).

The EO (Eastern Orthodox) view of the divine energies doesn’t implicate EO in pantheism. To say that it does is to fail to appreciate the “pre-creational,” inner-Trinitarian character / aspect of the divine energies.

In this passage in his book Bradshaw goes on to say, “It is interesting in this connection that at least some divine attributes, such as truth and righteousness, are spoken of in Scripture as activities to be performed.” He then lists a footnote with several Bible verses, both NT and OT.

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[…] Consistent with this view is Gregory of Nyssa’s view that the materiality of creation is literally in energeia of God, a mode of Trinitarian dynamis, or power. For more on the energies of God, see here. […]

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