- Aug 20, 2005
- Reaction score
- Niagara Region, Ontario
Alfred, we Orthodox would instantly agree with you that "knowing" in this context goes far beyond intellectual apprehension. But it seemed to me that you were questioning what you may have heard that the Orthodox may also say that we cannot know God. Since you asked for it - and what will follow is NOT an official Orthodox document - it is NOT an original source. It is a very simplistic summary:Alfred Persson said:Rather than an essay, a born again would simply quote this:genesisone said:Do you remember St. Gregory Palamas whose name came up a few pages ago? He answered this question well. A simple search will turn up plenty about him and his writings.Alfred Persson said:6 And because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying out, "Abba, Father!"
7 Therefore you are no longer a slave but a son, and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ.
8 But then, indeed, when you did not know God, you served those which by nature are not gods.
(Gal 4:6-8 NKJ)
I've heard some Orthodox say God is a mystery, cannot be known. But Paul says those with the Spirit, who know God as their Father like I do, do know God. He implies it when he says in verse 8 "when you did not know God" which means those with the Spirit do know Him now.
I've never heard a fellow born again Christian say we cannot know God, that He is a mystery. We may say He is incomprehensible, but that doesn't mean we cannot know Him in truth, even if its not infinite comprehension, its real and genuine. He truly is the Father for example, revealing in truth who He is, even if it is a finite understanding, its correct.
So can't the Orthodox know God as well as we born agains?
Your question certainly requires an essay answer, not a paragraph, and most certainly not multiple choice (unless you choose E - Other; please explain....) .
15 For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, "Abba, Father."
16 The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God,
(Rom 8:15-16 NKJ)
We have the simple knowing God is our Father, as a child does his earthly father...Of course the child doesn't know all his earthly father does, but on a very real level, that intellectual apprehension isn't the knowing that is important to him.
Couldn't you condense his thought into a paragraph?
It's another one of those annoying paradoxes in Orthodoxy: that God is both knowable and unknowable. You've noticed that we like that sort of thing around here .Addressing the question of how it is possible for humans to have knowledge of a transcendent and unknowable God, he drew a distinction between knowing God in his essence (in Greek, ουσία) and knowing God in his energies (in Greek, ενέργειαι). He maintained the Orthodox doctrine that it remains impossible to know God in his essence (God in himself), but possible to know God in his energies (to know what God does, and who he is in relation to the creation and to man), as God reveals himself to humanity. In doing so, he made reference to the Cappadocian Fathers and other early Christian writers.