Thursday, July 31, 2008

My favorite eastern quote!

I like this quote because it really fits in well with my previous post which I have been accused of not reading good eastern orthodox theologians. I think we will all agree that this theologian is pretty good as an accurate representation of eastern theology, especially on the essence of God. I think this fellow and I have the same view on the eastern view of the essence of God But I do think there is one small difference....oh yeah...I reject it and he obviously holds to it because he is well...eastern..

“The super-essential nature of God is not a subject for speech or thought or even contemplation, for it is far removed from all that exists and more than unknowable . . . incomprehensible and ineffable to all for ever. There is no name whereby it can be named, neither in this age nor in the age to come, nor word found in the soul and uttered by the tongue, nor contact whether sensible or intellectual, nor yet any image which may afford any knowledge of its subject. . . None can properly name its essence or nature if he be truly seeking the truth that is above all truth.”

- St. Gregory Palamas



NPT

11 comments:

Dave Id. said...

I'm confused. What part of that do you disagree with?

What he said seemed like a very complex way to say "God is incomprehensible."

---Dave Id.

Nathanael Taylor said...

I think God is not entirely incomprehensible. I think there are certain things we can know about his essence otherwise we end up being self-referentially incoherent like the east.

NPT

Dave Id. said...

I don't know if that philosopher would disagree. Obviously at the very least we know what has been told to us by him, and is coherent. Just not exhaustive.

It seems like you can logically emphasize either his revelation (either by his revelation to us specifically or extrapolation from what is in the image of man--i.e. also what he has revealed) or his incomprehensibility.

It's hard to do both at once. Your objection would be in what the emphasize; not whether or not it's true.

Nathanael Taylor said...

I don't know if that philosopher would disagree. Obviously at the very least we know what has been told to us by him, and is coherent. Just not exhaustive.

Response: I don't know if you could get that from that quote. But there was a controversy with this character about the essence of God and whether or not it was knowable and this fellow said that it wasn't but he thought that we know God through his activities or his energies rather than his essence which is wholly unknowable.

It seems like you can logically emphasize either his revelation (either by his revelation to us specifically or extrapolation from what is in the image of man--i.e. also what he has revealed) or his incomprehensibility.

Response: I would actually agree with what you have said above in terms of my view of the incomprehensibility of God, but given my previous response it's hard to see that Palamas thought this.

It's hard to do both at once. Your objection would be in what the emphasize; not whether or not it's true.

Response: I would say it's not hard to do both at once certain aspects of God's essence are unknowable but others are knowable. The aspects that are unknowable are unknowable in their *content* not in whether or not we can know that they are unknowable (so we can avoid the charge of incoherence that the east falls prey to, whether or not they admit it).

NPT

Acolyte4236 said...

Actually there was no controversy Nate with Palamas over the knowabilityof the divine essence. The controversy with Barlaam was over whether the body could be deified. Plenty of people long before Palamas affirmed divine incomprehensibility. Take John Chrysostom's entire book on the Incomprehensibility of God. Chrysostom was 1,000 years before Palamas.

Nathanael Taylor said...

Oh thank you for that correction. I actually read what I said previously from a link from a wikapedia site. It was a paper I believe.

Thanks for the correction Perry.

NPT

Dave Id. said...

Well, your response to my point that I don't think the philosopher would disagree with you falls apart if there were not issues with his stance.

It's fair to say that God is incomprehensible, but knowable in so far as he has revealed himself.

We agree on that.

If your objection is to him revealing himself through energies or activities you object to how he is revealed, not if he is revealed.

If he is revealed at all, then what is revealed can be known, even if the totality is incomprehensible.

Which means, I doubt there is an actual contradiction with this philosopher, although perhaps there still is in the Orthodox church.

Perhaps I have expressed myself poorly, but I am taking a quietus from work, and so have to get back to that soon.

Acolyte4236 said...

big clue-wikipedia is not a reliable source of information, especially concerning complicated theological-philosophical issues.

Nathanael Taylor said...

big clue-wikipedia is not a reliable source of information, especially concerning complicated theological-philosophical issues.

Response: I find the *links* from wikipedia to be helpful, but the content contained on the pedia is not always reliable but 90% it is I find, so that it is why it is not appropriate for research purposes. I hope you are not upset or anything...because the way you come off has been increasingly hostile.

Blessings

NPT

Acolyte4236 said...

Links or not, it is still not reliable. Why not find the references in peer review journals helpful instead?

I hope you aren't upset or anything because you come off as quite hostile, complaining as you do about old men telling you its wrong to use contraceptives that double as abortifcants. Someone must have hit a nerve. Are you pro-abortion too?

I am only treating you as you have treated me and others.

Nathanael Taylor said...

Links or not, it is still not reliable. Why not find the references in peer review journals helpful instead?

Response: I have no reason for thinking that links on the internet are unreliable, so I don't know about that. Each link has to judged independently whether or not it is reliable.

I hope you aren't upset or anything because you come off as quite hostile, complaining as you do about old men telling you its wrong to use contraceptives that double as abortifcants. Someone must have hit a nerve. Are you pro-abortion too?

Response: Nope, I am pro-life. I believe at conception it's a human being. Well obviously I can take this as that you are very upset and angry. I apologized if anything I said hurt your feelings.