Jun 23, 2011
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Wyatt said:
Asteriktos said:
witega said:
or that you think the distinction between Essence and Energies is about 'specific knowledge of the nature of God' continues to show that you are simply not understanding what that distinction means in Orthodox theology.
But is not the distinction saying something about God nonetheless, even if it's a negative?
Indeed it is, and that is the part that I find a bit strange and quite ironic. In an attempt to say that God is transcendent and beyond knowledge (other than that He is a Trinity), Eastern Orthodox theology assigns attributes to God (that He exists as essence and energies) which indicates knowledge of Him beyond Trinitarian dogma. It breaks the rule that it seeks to establish.
I think you're misunderstanding this. We don't postulate to know anything about God's 'being' (which of course is not really being, because God is beyond being and non-being). What we know of God is communicated to us through His energies. We also do affirm that there is a sort of hidden 'being' of the trinity which is beyond all comprehension, and this is what is meant when we say things like God is unknowable and transcendent.

To take an example from physicist Michio Kaku (who uses a similar analogy to illustrate the idea of there being more than three spatial dimensions), imagine that you were a koi in a pond. You live in this pond without any awareness of the man who cares for you, by keeping the temperature, pH, salinity and food levels in the pond at an optimal level for your own living. You have a pretty good idea, living in this pond of how the 'natural' world should look, and you with your primitive mind, have formulated an idea of what it means to be. For you, you have complete freedom of movement within the confined space of your pond which is bound by two types of boundaries. One boundary, you notice is quite sturdy, stable and predictable, yet there is also a very strange boundary to your pond (the surface) where the natural laws which you have intuited seem to break down. For one thing, you are capable of momentarily breaking through it, but not capable of ever moving beyond it. It is also occasionally subject to incredibly violent and unpredictable patterns of disruptions (because of rain or the intervention of the caretaker). Imagine that the koi were incredibly perceptive, might he not figure out, because of the interactions (energies) of the human being with the pond and even with the individual koi, that a caretaker lies beyond the surface? Yet at the same time, is it not true, even though the koi intuits that there is some being outside of his pond, that the 'being' of this being is completely beyond his knowledge?

Of course this analogy is flawed because a human caretaker and a koi both share in the same type of being (they are created), but perhaps it gives an idea of what we are getting at. God is wholly other, and saying that he is unknown in his 'being' reflects that. God, however, interacts with us in many different ways (energetically) which make Him known to us even though we do not comprehend what exactly He is.