Wednesday, January 26, 2011

"The Monarchy": God the Father or the Essence/Godhead?

This current post is the third in a 'series' of threads (first; second) which explores the issue of "the one true God", as delineated in the Bible, and the subsequent 'development' and understanding of this concept in the writings of the post-Biblical Church Fathers.

In the prior two threads, I have presented evidence that the Bible makes some important distinctions between the One who called ό θεός and the one called θεός ; between the ό θεός who begets, and the μονογενής θεός who is begotten; between the one termed "τοῦ μόνου θεοῦ" (John 5:44) and "τὸν μόνον ἀληθινὸν θεὸν" (John 17:3), and the one He sends. I also pointed out that only one person in the Bible is declared to be the "εἷς θεὸς" (and it is not Jesus).

The above mentioned threads prompted 183 responses in the comboxes, including some informative posts from a couple of our Eastern Orthodox brothers who presented, and defended, the 'traditional' EO concept/definition that God the Father is "the one God"—a teaching which is also termed 'the monarchy of the Father'. Links to contemporary EO theologians (e.g. Behr and Hopko) who embrace this view were provided. My own personal studies (prior and subsequent) add other EO scholars who support this motif—e.g. Boris Bobrinskoy, The Mystery of the Trinity (pp. 264-268); Vladimir Lossky, Orthodox Theology (p. 46 ) and The Mystical Theology of the Eastern Church (p.58); Anthony Meredith, The Cappadocians (p. 106); John Meyendorff, Byzantine Theology (p. 183); Athanasius Yevtich (Atanasije Jevtich), "Between the "Niceneans' and 'Easterners': The 'Catholic' Confession of St. Basil" in Christ - The Alpha and Omega (pp, 171-173); John D. Zizioulas, Being As Communion (pp. 40, 41) and Communion and Otherness (p. 134).

However, it was brought to my attention by Iohannes/John (via a link [tinyurl.com/2calggz] he provided in THIS POST), that not all EO scholars/theologians are convinced the concept of "the monarchy" has God the Father in mind, but rather, as with most Latin/Western theologians, it is the One divine essence/nature (sometimes termed the 'Godhead' [θεότης]) that is the reference point. Nicholas Loudovikos, in his The Heythrop Journal essay, "Person Instead of Grace and Dictated Otherness: John Zizioulas' Final Theological Position", critiques a number of Dr. Zizioulas' 'positions', including "the traditional Eastern doctrine of the monarchy of the Father". (Page 5 - bold emphasis mine.) Note the following:

John Zizioulas' Trinitarian theology is based on the traditional Eastern doctrine of the monarchy of the Father. He attributes this doctrine mainly to the Cappadocians and Maximus the Confessor, and this of course is true. It is not always easy, however, to agree with his understanding of their texts.

For Zizioulas the Father is the one God of the Creed. Once again the discussion is about freedom that can be assured only if the Father 'as a person and not substance' (p. 121) (in Zizioulas' vocabulary this always opposes nature/necessity to person/freedom, even in God) makes a 'personal rather than ousianic' (p. 120) constitution of the two other hypostases. The two characteristics of Zizioulas' Triadology are therefore: first, its (rather) non-ousianic character, and second, the rejection of any element of reciprocity. As we shall see, the Cappadocians as well as Maximus never supported such views.
(Pages 5, 6.)

Dr. Loudovikos goes on to build a solid case that John Zizioulas (and so many other EO scholars/theologinas), has misread the Cappadocian Fathers concerning the issue of "the monarchy". This is a very important charge, for 'the traditional' reading the Cappadocians on this issue of "the monarchy" has been one of the key components for the "the traditional Eastern doctrine of the monarchy of the Father."

In the combox of the Is "the one God" of the Bible the Trinity, or God the Father? thread, Iohannes/John and I delved into St. Basil's "classic statement" (Sermon 24.3) on "the monarchy". Our research uncovered the possibility of two legitimate readings/translations of the passage; one reading supports "the traditional Eastern doctrine of the monarchy of the Father", the other does not. Prior to my subsequent research efforts, I leaned toward the former position; however, after a considerable amount study and reflection, I am now rethinking that assessment. The following selection, with surrounding context, is Dr. Loudovvikos' reading/translation of the passage:

Basil has no difficulty connecting monarchy with the unity of substance, as a careful reading of his On the Holy Spirit, 45, demonstrates. Basil makes a distinction concerning the Trinity between the specificity of hypostases and the monarchy; he connects the persons with the former and the common substance/nature (το κοινόν της) which he also calls 'communion of deity' (κοινωνία της θεότητος) with the latter. More explicitly, in his Sermon 24 (par. 3) to forestall any identification of the monarchy with just one person (the Father) who might act independently, he writes: 'there is one God who is the Father; there is also one God who is the Son, but there are not two Gods, because there is an identity between the Father and the Son. Because there is not another deity in the Father, and another in the Son nor another substance (physis) in either of them'. (Pages 7, 8.)


Dr. Loudovvikos' essay provides a number of brief citations from the writings of the three Cappadocian Fathers that provide a broader context for determining which reading/translation of Sermon 24.3 is the more accurate. I would like to build upon his foundation; first from Basil:

...they ought to confess that the Father is God, the Son God, and the Holy Ghost God, as they have been taught by the divine words, and by those who have understood them in their highest sense. Against those who cast it in out teeth that we are Tritheists, let it be answered that we confess one God not in number but in nature. (Letter 8.2 - NPNF 8.116.)

And from Gregory "the Theologian" Nazianzen (Nazinanus):

The three most ancient opinions concerning God are Anarchia (ἀναρχία), Polyarchia (πολυαρχία), and Monarchia (μοναρχία). The first two are the sport of the children of Hellas, and may they continue to be so. For Anarchy is a thing without order ; and the Rule of Many is factious, and thus anarchical, and thus disorderly. For both these tend to the same thing, namely disorder ; and this to dissolution, for disorder is the first step to dissolution.

But Monarchy (
μοναρχία) is that which we hold in honour. It is, however, a Monarchy (μοναρχία) that is not limited to one Person (πρόσωπον), for it is possible for Unity if at variance with itself to come into a condition of plurality ; but one which is made of an equality of Nature and a Union of mind, and an identity of motion, and a convergence of its elements to unity―a thing which is impossible to the created nature―so that though numerically distinct there is no severance of Essence (οủσία). Therefore Unity having from all eternity arrived by motion at Duality, found its rest in Trinity. This is what we mean by Father and Son and Holy Ghost. (Orations, 29.2 , The third theological oration - NPNF 7.301)

What is our quarrel and dispute with both? To us there is One God (εἷς θεός), for the Godhead is One (μία θεότης), and all that proceedeth from Him is referred to One, though we believe in Three Persons. For one is not more and another less God ; nor is One before and another after ; nor are They divided in will or parted in power ; nor can you find here any of the qualities of divisible things ; but the Godhead (θεότης) is, to speak concisely, undivided in separate Persons ; and there is one mingling of Light, as it were of three suns joined, to each other. When then we look at the Godhead (θεότητα), or the First Cause (πρώτην αἰτίαν), or the Monarchia (μοναρχία), that which we conceive is One ; but when we look at the Persons in Whom the Godhead (θεότης) dwells, and at Those Who timelessly and with equal glory have their Being (ὄντα) from the First Cause (πρώτης αἰτίας) there are Three Whom we worship. (Orations, 31.14 , The fifth theological oration - NPNF 7.322)

Concerning the above passages from Gregory, Loudovikos wrote:

...the only definition of monarchy [from the Cappadocians] must be that of Gregory Nazianzen: 'Monarchy that cannot be limited to one person, for it is possible for unity if at variance with itself to come into a condition of plurality; but one which is constituted by equality of nature, and agreement of opinion, and identity of motion, and a convergence of its elements to one, something that is impossible to happen in the created nature; so that though numerically distinct there is no division of ousia'. (Page 8.)

I do not think I would go as far as endorsing Loudovikos' assertion that the above is, "the only definition of monarchy", that should be considered; but I will say, from my readings of the Cappadocians, it is certainly the most direct, and clearest definition.

Another EO scholar, Hegumen Hilarion Alfeyev, in his essay"The Trinitarian Teaching of St. Gregory of Nazianzen" (in The Trinity - East/West Dialogue, pp. 107-130), concurs with Loudovikos' assessment:

As we have seen, the idea of God's monarchy was fundamental to both Sabellius and Arius; the notion of the Son's co-eternity with the Father was rejected by Arius precisely because he perceived in it a breach of the principle of the Father's monarchy. For Arius, those who insist on the eternal begetting of the Son introduce 'two unbegotten origins.' Gregory opposed this understanding of monarchy and claimed that the term is not related to the Hypostasis of the Father, but to the Godhead as such, i.e. to the three Hypostases together. In other words, Gregory did not associate the idea of monarchy with the Father but with the unity of the Godhead. (Page 113 - bold emphasis mine.)

[NOTE: Interestingly enough, Alfeyev's translation of Basil's Sermon 24.3a seems to support "the traditional Eastern doctrine of the monarchy of the Father"; however, he concludes that, "according to Cappadocian theology, ideas of the primal cause and of the monarchy were connected." As such, Alfeyev suggests that one must make a distinction between the "ideas of the primal cause and of the monarchy", even though they are in a certain sense "connected".]

I could supply a number of other passages from the Cappadocians which strongly suggest that they identified "the monarchy", "unity", "One God" (εἷς θεός), etc. with the one "essence" (οủσία) and/or the Godhead (θεότης), and not with the person of the Father, but I believe the above has established issue adequately enough.

Now, I do not wish to give the impression that the Cappadocians did not place a certain emphasis on the priority of the Father as the 'source', 'fount' of divinity—for they all in fact did so (but then, even Augustine spoke in such language)—the point I want to highlight is that they did not seem to ever explicitly uphold "the traditional Eastern doctrine of the monarchy of the Father."

So, as I reach the end of this current post, I am left asking myself: why have so many Eastern Orthodox scholars/theologians read/understood the Cappadocians in a manner that seems at odds with the broader context of their writings?


Grace and peace,

David

50 comments:

Lvka said...

Again, what seems to be the problem?

Do any of the Cappadocian Fathers ever call the Son or the Holy Spirit or their divine nature "THE God" or "THE one God"? (o [monos] theos).

Do they ever call either the Son OR the Spirit OR the(ir) common divine nature ARCHE ("source") ?

[I think you're confounding the word translated there "monarchy" (related to their common dignity, rule, power, kingdom, lordship, and worship) with the theological term "arche", meaning 'source'].

Do any of the Cappadocian Fathers say that the Son, for instance, is another Father, because of the filioque? Or that the Father can be called the Holy Spirit because `God is Spirit`? [As did Augustine]

The Son and Spirit inherit the[ir] Father's divine nature: the first by birth & the other by procession from Him, the only true and living God, and Font of the Godhead. They don't just 'pop out' of the divine nature by Themselves, as it were. Nor is that nature Their 'Father'.


For Zizioulas the Father is the one God of the Creed

For the Creed itself, and for the Fathers who wrote it, the phrase one God refers to the Father, just like the phrase one Lord later on refers to the Son; then they/it go[es] on to speak about one church and one baptism.

Lvka said...

(I think monarchy there refers to dominion; I don't think it's ARCHE there [source, root, fount{ain}]) -- the sentence would make no sense.

Lvka said...

I also think you're misreading St. Basil: he didn't say "the Father is 'THE one God', and the Son is 'THE one God'" -- he simply seems to mean: "the Father is one God, or a God, or God; and the Son is also one/a/another God, or God, or God-like; BUT there's just ONE God, and NOT two".

Lvka said...

I also don't see them/him saying:

the Father is an Arche, the Son is an[other] Arche, and the divine essence is also an Arche.

Nor did I see either-one of them saying: "the Arche is the common divine nature (also), and not the Father (only)".

ALL that I see them saying is that God the Father shares His monarchy (lordship or dominion) with the other two Persons of the Godhead. (which is obvious).

What I *DON'T* see them saying is that all three of them are Arche's (sources, roots, fo[u]nts) -- that is just absurd.

Lvka said...

MORE on Saint Basil's words:

The Greeks and the Romans and their philosophers were either pagans [poly-theism = poly-archy] or atheists [a-theism = an-archy].

But the Jews and Christians were mono-theists [mono-theism = mon-archy].

Now, in the case of the Jews it's clear and simple; but what about Christianity? There are Three Monarchs-Lords-Kings there, right? Yet the[ir] Monarchy-Lordship-Kingdom-Dominion is ONE, NOT three!

So, how do we then, as Christians, explain this?

There was NO common nature, NOR one common purpose among the Greek gods. For *what* common nature can the Gods of the various different elements OR various different and even opposing concepts, have in common, right? [Gods of fire and gods of water; gods of war and gods peace; gods of virtues and gods of sinful passions]. Nor was there a common purpose among them: they fought with each other, and even killed each other(!).

But in Christianity it is not so, for Father, Son, and Holy Spirit share ONE nature (inherited by the latter two from their ONE, common Arche, the-ONE-God-and-Father); AND ONE common purpose: love, peace, redemption of mankind, etc.


-- THAT was what St Basil was trying to say: I DON'T understand how you could understand something so foreign, strange, and alien from his simple words...

Lvka said...

ONE Arche => ONE archy (mon-archy) and ONE [and the SAME] essence [homo-ousios].

Lvka said...

ONE King, ONE Prince, and ONE Queen share in ONE and the SAME Monarchy over their ONE and the SAME Kingdom. -- it's THAT simple.

The Monarchy of the latter two is derived from the Monarchy of the first. So they obey him and are sub-ordinate to him. [1 Corinth. 15:24-28]

As in Genesis, the Queen (Eve) was taken from the King's (Adam's) side, and the Prince (Seth) from his loins, so is with the Holy Trinity, man [Adam => mankind] being made in the image of God [the Father => Trinity].

ONE Arche [Adam-the-father/God-the-Father], ONE humanity/divinity.

Man was created to rule over the rest of Creation, just like God rules over all Creation. (Genesis 1:26-28).

Iohannes said...

Hi David,

Thanks for your post. Were you able to read Beeley's section on the monarchy in St. Gregory? Although he's critical of Meyendorff, his findings as a whole lend support to the traditional Eastern understanding of the monarchy.

I remain pretty well convinced that Lienhard's translation of St. Basil's 24.3 is correct. The notional probability I'd give in its favor is 85%. Previously I wavered a little because of Basil's comment in section 4, "Again therefore I say: One and one." That could refer to the statement from section 3, but now I'm more inclined to take in connection with his nearby remarks that "the source is one, and what is from it is one," and "the archetype is one, and the image one." Notably, those expressions are consonant with the monarchy of the Father, as also is Basil's saying in the same section, "There are not two gods, for neither are there two fathers. It is the one who introduces two sources (ἀρχὰς) who preaches two gods."

Much ink has been spilt over the passage quoted from Gregory's third theological oration. The key line there is "a Monarchy that is not limited to one Person" (μοναρχία δέ, οὐχ ἣν ἓν περιγράφει πρόσωπον). Despite what's often said, I don't think this line undercuts the monarchy of the Father. Rather, it seems designed to contrast orthodox Christian to Jewish and Anomoean ideas about the Godhead. The point seems to be that God the Father is not solitary; his monarchy within the Godhead does not exclude the existence of the Son and Spirit as other equally divine persons who reign with the Father over creation.

That's not to say the scholars you cite are mistaken to associate the common ousia with the monarchy. Lucian's right, I think: The monarchy is the guarantee of the homoousios, and the homoousios is in turn necessary to preserve monotheism. Were the Father and the Son different in substance and yet both adored, there would be two kinds of gods, and thus two gods. But though the common ousia is therefore necessary, it's not sufficient for monotheism. All men share a common nature/substance/essence, but we don't say there is "one man." In Gregory's words: "And with us Humanity is one, namely the entire race... But in this case the common nature has a unity which is only conceivable in thought; and the individuals are parted from one another very far indeed, both by time and by dispositions and by power." (Or. 31.15)

Iohannes said...

(cont'd)

The divine unity, then, has to be anchored in something more than the shared essence. There are two main candidates for that "something more": perichoresis and monarchy. Social trinitarians make the former into a substitute for the latter, but that's not what the Cappadocians did. If anything, they put the emphasis on the monarchy, with the mutual indwelling following from the Son and Spirit's being the Word and Spirit of the One God.

Although the phrasing is tricky, I think Or. 31.14 supports this. It might help to translate the crucial sentence more literally: ἡμῖν εἷς θεός, ὅτι μία θεότης· καὶ πρὸς ἓν τὰ ἐξ αὐτοῦ τὴν ἀναφορὰν ἔχει, κἂν τρία πιστεύηται. "For us (there is) one God, because (there is) one Godhead; and to One those (which are) from It have their reference, even though Three are believed."

The first part is straightforward: were there more than one divine nature, there would be more than one god. The upshot is that the orthodox don't fall into the trap of multiplying gods by multiplying natures.

The second part is controversial. The NPNF translation makes antecedent of αὐτοῦ ambiguous. In fact, it's ἓν. Is ἓν the μία θεότης? Grammatically it's possible, but nothing in the Greek requires our taking it that way. All the text implies is that there is one source and that what comes from the one source "has reference" to it. If Gregory meant to enunciate the novel idea of the Godhead as the source of the persons, he hasn't made himself clear. I think it's more likely he assumed his hearers would understand he spoke of the Father. The same, I think, is true when later in the paragraph he speaks of the "first cause" and the "monarchy." He didn't need to unpack those ideas because their meanings were commonly understood (cf. paragraph 17, where "monarchy" again appears without definition).

In short, then, I think it's a false antithesis to say "Gregory did not associate the idea of monarchy with the Father but with the unity of the Godhead." Everybody associated the monarchy with the Father; what Gregory and his confrères did is show that the monarchy is compatible with, and in fact secures, the unity of the triune Godhead. Indeed, as Gregory said, the Father is the Union (ἕνωσις), "from Whom and to Whom the order of Persons runs its course, not so as to be confounded, but so as to be possessed, without distinction of time, of will, or of power." (Or. 42.15) For more on this, I'd really recommend Beeley, on whose work I'm leaning.

Blessings in Christ,

John

Iohannes said...

PS The more I think, the more I'm baffled at how the essence could be the monarchy. The essence or Godhead is just God-ness (θεο-της). God-ness (ousia) can't be or do anything by itself; it has to be instantiated in an actual divine person (hypostasis). Essence as monarchy has to be shorthand for something else, and I worry it leads straight either to Sabellianism or Tritheism, in that we must either reify the Trinity and make it the cause of the persons (whilst being somehow simple) or we must make the persons to be each self-caused. But it's late and maybe I'm going crazy.

Lvka said...

Again: I think you're confusing two different meanings of the same poly-semantic word. (source-cause-root-font VS. lordship-kingship-rule-dominion).

To my knowledge, the key-words you should be looking for is "arche" and/or "aitia", NOT "monarchia".

As I said, the Fathers here seem to speak of the common authority of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit (as in: "for Yours is the Kingdom, and the Power, and the Glory: of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit"; or as in: "Who together with the Father and the Son is worshipped and glorified"; etc).

David Waltz said...

Good morning Lvka and John,

I see that the two of you have been quite busy; thanks much for the interest and responses!

You both have given this beachbum much to consider. Before I respond directly to your posts, I would to ponder and reflect a bit more on your comments.

BTW, yesterday afternoon I received in the mail Fr. Behr's The Nicene Faith - Volume 2, Part 2, which has large sections on the three Cappadocians. (I have owned his The Way to Nicaea and The Nicene Faith - Volume 2, Part 1 since 2004, but put off obtaining 2.2 till now.) I am looking forward to reading this tome this afternoon,

John: Do you own Beeley's Gregoray of Nazianzus on the Trinity? I am frustrated with the online 'preview', it is missing so many important pages.

Anyway, back to your posts, and thanks again for your contributions.


Grace and peace,

David

Iohannes said...

Hi David,

I've not bought Beeley's book, but I'm thinking about ordering it. Have you tried entering "monarchy" in the "search inside" box at Amazon? If you do that and log in, it should let you access many of the pages from 201 to 217. Between that and Google preview you can probably read most of the section.

Hi Lucian,

I agree "arche" and "aitia" are the key words. You're right, too, that "monarchia" has two senses, single-rule and single-source. There's the monarchy over creation, a single sovereignty harmoniously exercised by the Three, who are undivided in will and power. There's also the monarchy of the Father as the sole "arche" within the Triad. I think Gregory moves easily between these ideas. For him, the former is compatible with, even follows from the latter. And in neither sense is the essence the monarchy. Honestly, I don't think this has to be as complicated as modern scholarship has made it. When Gregory lists "Godhead," "First Cause," and "Monarchia" in Or. 31.14, he's not using the them as synonyms. It should be obvious that Gregory isn't contradicting Basil. Nor is he saying anything that can't be found in St. John Damascene, who repeats the line nearly verbatim: "When, then, we turn our eyes to the Divinity, and the first cause and the sovereignty (monarchian) and the oneness and sameness, so to speak, of the movement and will of the Divinity, and the identity in essence and power and energy and lordship, what is seen by us is unity."

David Waltz said...

Hi John,

Thanks much for getting back to me with the suggestions on how to access Beeley's book online (especially the importance of logging into Amazon before viewing!!!) With your help, I can now access all but page 213.

I am trying to wrap my brain around the diversity of opinion (concerning the primary theology of God and the Trinity in the Cappadocains), among those scholars who possess what appears to be equal scholastic skills. For now, I cannot help but wonder if it is presuppositions (and not the actual core data) that is fueling the diversity.

Anyway, thanks again for the input...back to reading.


Grace and peace,

David

Iohannes said...

David,

Looking again at Alfeyev p. 113, I'm thinking Lvka's point is important. I was thrown by this sentence: For Arius, those who insist on the eternal begetting of the Son introduce 'two unbegotten origins.' Despite that, Alfeyev in context isn't talking about monarchy in the sense of single origin (cf. arche); he's talking about "single rule" (cf. archon), as in the preceding paragraph.

Blessings in Christ,

John

Lvka said...

Luke 10:21

In that hour Jesus rejoiced in spirit, and said:

I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent [Orthodox "scholars"], and hast revealed them unto [tongue-talking Pentecostal] babes: even so, Father; for so it seemed good in thy sight.

David Waltz said...

Hi John,

I am 'sitting on the fence', so to speak, concerning the better/more accurate read of the three Cappadocians on this issue of the Monarchia of God. For the present, I see the merits of the three primary interpretations; as such, I am reserving judgment.

I have asked an old friend of mine (he is one of the most gifted linguists I know, has both MDiv and ThM degrees from Western Theological Seminary, and was my Greek tutor) to look over some of the more controversial passages we have been discussing, and share he thoughts on the translations with me. Whilst I wait for his reflections, I wanted impart a bit of information on the following that you posted:

>>PS The more I think, the more I'm baffled at how the essence could be the monarchy. The essence or Godhead is just God-ness (θεο-της). God-ness (ousia) can't be or do anything by itself; it has to be instantiated in an actual divine person (hypostasis). Essence as monarchy has to be shorthand for something else, and I worry it leads straight either to Sabellianism or Tritheism, in that we must either reify the Trinity and make it the cause of the persons (whilst being somehow simple) or we must make the persons to be each self-caused. But it's late and maybe I'm going crazy.>>

The use term θεότης in the writings of the 4th century Church Fathers is quite diverse. In the monumental work, A Patristic Greek Lexicon (edited by Lampe), no less that seven primary uses are listed: 1. deity; 2. the Trinity; 3. God the Father; 4. Christ; 5. Holy Ghost; 6. participation of creatures in the divinity 7. personal sense of God. Additional, more nuanced uses (over twenty!) are listed under each primary meaning.

After I post this comment, I am going to examine the hundred plus examples from the CFs that are provided, looking to see if any of the passages we have been discussing are included.


Grace and peace,

David

Lvka said...

I understand #1 [divine nature], #2 [participants of the divine nature], and #6 [the divine energies of the divine nature]... but I'd be hard-pressed to recall a single instance in all Church-prayers, Church-hymns, and Church-sevices that calls a single Person individually by the word "Godhead" (unless it refers to His Godhead, or it speaks of Him possessing divinity).

What I'm trying to say is this: the sense [of theotis] is clear, refering to one thing specifically [divinity-deity-godhead], and to the Trinity or divine Energies as closely-related secondary meanings (it's not spread like butter on bread, but clear and concentrated).

------------------------------
[I'm familiar with the content of all Sunday-Matins, Sunday-Vespers, Lenten-Complines, three Liturgies, morning and evening prayers, plus dozens of Akathists and Prayer-Canons etc -- that's why I mention this]. -- I've glimpsed & browsed through patristic works as well, but that's not exactly my strong point. (In any case, I've yet to see or hear the word Godhead being used of one Person alone).

Don't get me wrong: there are Matins, Vespers, Complines, and Nocturns assigned to each day of the week, eight of each [ie, there are 7x8=56 versions of each of these services].

Iohannes said...

Hi David,

I'm glad you're able to check the passages with your friend. While waiting to hear back, would you be able to clarify what "the three primary interpretations" are?

Regarding my postscript: In the data from Lampe, what stands out to me is that the first entry is deity. It's listed at the top because it's the core meaning around which others cluster. There's good reason for this: deity is merely deitas Anglicized; and deitas is Latin's morphological equivalent of θεοτης.

The relationship between deity and godhead in English is analogous. They're simply Latin and Germanic root equivalents; -head is a variant of -hood, which (like -heit in German) makes the noun to which it's appended abstract. In that way, it functions as -tas does in the Latin and -της in the Greek.

It's common for abstract nouns to acquire concrete senses. This has happened in English with both deity and godhead. Literally they refer to the divine nature, or to the state of being God. But we also speak of the Deity and the Godhead, which stand for God or the Holy Trinity by metonymy.

What you see in Lampe, I think, reflects the same pattern of natural linguistic development. It's very interesting, but it doesn't touch my point, which was this: the divine essence cannot literally be the monarchy because the essence doesn't exist except as instantiated in actual divine persons. To be intelligible, divine essence as monarchy has to be shorthand for something else.

Of course, if monarchy means the single divine sovereignty, I have no objection to saying the monarchy stems from the Godhead, where the Godhead is a proper noun signifying the Triad of divine persons. The Son and the Spirit reign with the Father over creation; they are the hands of the One God.

If monarchy refers to the first cause or source, I sincerely don't see how we can replace the monarchy of the Father with a monarchy of the essence. There are a couple possibilities for what the latter could be.

It could mean there is a cause of the persons that is prior to the Father, but I worry that amounts to hypostatizing the Trinity as such and making it the cause of Father, Son and Spirit. I fear the end result would then be either Quadrinity or Modalism. That danger is probably what Basil had in mind when he warned in Hom. 24 against thinking of Πατερα και Υιον εκ μιας ουσιας υπερκειμενης, of "Father and Son emerging from one preexistent ousia" (McGuckin's version).

Alternatively, the monarchy of the essence could mean that ingeneracy belongs to the essence, so that the divine persons are each ingenerate. Basil firmly rejected that as something dreamt up by his opponents. I believe Gregory too would shrink from it as tantamount to Tritheism.

Anyhow, maybe I'm just displaying my ignorance. Still, I think Beeley cuts through a lot of scholastic confusion when he reminds the reader that "There is no such thing as a nonessential divine person or a nonpersonal divine being; rather, the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit--which are always the primary theological categories--are each both hypostasis and divine being." (216)

Blessings in Christ,

John

* Incidentally, Beeley's statement shows the problem with the Monothelites: they either had to locate the one will in the person understood apart from the natures, thereby creating a third thing (something similar to making the Triune godhead the cause of the Persons?), or they had to strip Christ of his human will, thereby reviving Apollinarianism.

Jnorm said...

David,


Do you really believe that the Christian East of the 4th and 5th centuries adopted the idea that the Essence is the Monarchy?

Do you think in the 4th and 5th centuries we dropped the view of the Father being Monarch?

I'm sorry, but this seems very hard for me to believe. What did most people in the Christian East believe? They believed the Father to be the Monarch. If they understood him to mean something different, then they would of charged him with Modalism or something. The Christian East hated modalism. More so than the Christian West......in whom seemed delighted to embrace some semi form of it.

David Waltz said...

Hello Jnorm, John, and Lvka,

Had a very busy weekend with no time for the internet—sincerely hope you guys have not forgotten about this thread...

I still have not heard back from my friend (he is not in the best of health), so rather than focus on translation, I would like to 'switch gears' a bit, and bring into the discussion the thoughts/writings of one of the brighter Reformed patristic/Trinitarian scholars I have read: Thomas F. Torrance. Dr. Torrance is uniquely qualified in the genre we have been discussing, not only is he a recognized patristic/Trinitarian scholar (especially the 4th century Greek CFs), but he is also well read in contemporary writings of many EO patristic/Trinitarian scholars due to his keen interest in the International Theological Dialogue between the Orthododox Church and the World Alliance of Reformed Churches (LINK); he edited two volumes of essays produced by this collaboration.

I have read two of his tomes: The Trinitarian Faith and The Christian Doctrine of God, both of which have copious citations from the writings of Athansius and the three Cappadocians. Last night, I started reading the online preview of another of his works: Trinitarian Perspectives.

Dr. Thomas has a good deal to offer on topic we have been discussing in this thread—the Monarchia of God—I would like to devote a new thread to explore his contributions, but for now shall share the following:

"In our day it has been upon the Athanasian-Epiphanian-Cyriline basis, together with the trinitarian teaching of Gregory of Nazianzen wo insisgted that the Monarchia may not be limited to one Person, that doctrinal agreement on the doctrine of the Holy Trinity has been reached between Orthodox and Reformed Churches." ( The Christian Doctrine of God, p. 185.)

He then goes on to cite "a paragraph from a document of the Orthodox/Reformed Commission" that can be accessed ONLINE HERE, by clicking on "Page 185".

Towards the end of the paragraph we read:

"...the Monarchy is One and indivisible, the Trinity in Unity and the Unity in Trinity." (Ibid.)


More later, the Lord willing.


Grace and peace,

David

David Waltz said...

Hi John,

Wanted to respond directly to the following posted:

>> I'm glad you're able to check the passages with your friend. While waiting to hear back, would you be able to clarify what "the three primary interpretations" are?>>

Me: 1.) the Father 2.) the Essence and/or Trinity 3.) both (without always consistent, systematic application).


Grace and peace,

David

David Waltz said...

Hi Jnorm,

Thought it best to clarify a couple of points concerning the following:

>>Do you really believe that the Christian East of the 4th and 5th centuries adopted the idea that the Essence is the Monarchy?

Do you think in the 4th and 5th centuries we dropped the view of the Father being Monarch?>>

Me: It has been suggested that when pressed by the Eunomian 'Arians', the Cappadocians began to move away from the emphasis of the monarchy of the Father, to a monarchy that had the entire Trinity in mind.

As for what I believe, first, I hold to the Monarchy of the Father without qualification; and second, as for my current understanding of what the Cappadocians themselves taught on this topic, I lean towards the view that they were not always consistent/systematic in their application of the concept of the monarchy; but, I am remain 'open' on this issue.


Grace and peace,

David

Lvka said...

For the sake of repeating myself as a broken record: you're mixing up two terms that have nothing to do with each other. The Fathers don't say that "the Father is monarchy", they say the Father is Arche. (Mon-archy is a term coined by theologians to name or express that belief in God the Father as the sole Arche of the Trinity. Searching for the term Monarchy in patristic writings is like searching for the word "Trinity" in the New Testament). You either don't find it there, or it's used with a different meaning. Stuff like the verse or line you cited is found all over our prayers and services, *always* refering to the one joint reign of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit over creation, not to something else [give me some credit here, will you? I'm going to Orthodox Matins and Vespers each Sunday, it's not exactly like I'm pulling this out of the hat..]

Lvka said...

Because the Son and Spirit share in the same essence as the Father, they also share in the same monarchy (over creation) as Him. It's even absurd to interpret it otherwise: does the Son share in the Father's Arche over the Trinity? Does the Son beget itself? Does He spirate the Holy Ghost? Does the Holy Spirit beget the Son or spirate itself? -- It's absurd!

Iohannes said...

Hi David,

Thanks for the explanation. I seem to remember Letham endorsing Torrance's understanding of the monarchy. Beeley, however, thinks Torrance was confused on this issue (p. 209).

What Lvka has said sounds right to me. We have to keep in mind what "essence" means. An essence or nature or substance is what a living thing is. The divine essence is what the Father is. The Son and the Spirit share that essence because they are from the Father.

I don't know if this helps, but think of your hands. They are human hands, human with the same humanity as you. Their essence is humanity, not "handness" (which isn't an essence), and they exist because you exist.

Obviously the analogy is imperfect. God isn't composite. His "hands," the Word and the Spirit, are distinct persons, not parts of Him. But from all eternity They derive from Him; They exist because He exists; and They share His nature because They are His Word and His Spirit.

Blessings in Christ,

John

David Waltz said...

Hi Lvka,

Thanks much for your continued participation. I don’t know exactly how to respond to what you have contributed so far, because I personally believe in the monarchy of God the Father, which has its basis in the fact the He and He alone is the ultimate Archē of everything except, of course, Himself. I think that where you and I have some difference/s is in the interpretation of what the 4th century Fathers actually taught. I believe (at least for now) that doctrinal development was occurring in the thought and writings of three Caapadocians (i.e. their thought matured), and that they are not always completely consistent. I suspect that many EO theologians sense a ‘need’ to reconcile certain passages of each individual Cappadocian that are in tension, as well as all three viewed together…

Earlier today, I found the following online essay; I believe that it provides an excellent summation of some of the issues we have been discussing (though I am not currently convinced with all of his conclusions):

http://www.brandonllocke.com/portfolio/monarchy.pdf

Anyway, sincerely hope that you remain a bit patient with this beachbum while I continue to study and reflect upon the thought and writings of the great CFs of the 4th century, keeping in mind that scholars who have spent decades studying these issues have not been able to arrive at a consensus.


Grace and peace,

David

David Waltz said...

Thanks for responding; you wrote:

>> Thanks for the explanation. I seem to remember Letham endorsing Torrance's understanding of the monarchy. Beeley, however, thinks Torrance was confused on this issue (p. 209).>>

Me: Letham does seem to endorse “Torrance's understanding of the monarchy”. Note the following:

“Torrence argues that perichoresis offsets the danger of remnants of Origenist subordinationism. Since the three mutually contain one another, the Trinity is an indivisible wholeness. There is consequently for the Father to be underived deity, while the son and the Spirit receive deity from the Father. Rather, it asserts the full equality of the three persons as autotheos (God in themselves, not God by derivation), while also affirming their real distinctions…

This leads us to Torrance’s distinctive proposal concerning the divine monarchy. His position flows directly out of his teaching on perichoresis. As corollary of this dynamic, mutual indwelling and communion, the Trinity may be known only as a whole in circular movement from unity to trinity and from trinity to unity. Because of this, for Torrance the monarchy is that of the whole Trinity, not just the Father. Gregory Nazianzen taught this view, Torrance has advocated it, and the agreement between Orthodox and Reformed churches adopts it.” (Robert Letham, The Holy Trinity, p. 366.)

What leads me to believe that Letham has embraced Torrance’s view is what he penned a few pages before the above:

“Thomas F. Torrance (1913-) is arguably the most significant theologian in the English-speaking world of the past fifty years or more.” (Ibid., p. 356.)


Grace and peace,

David

David Waltz said...

Hi John,

Arrgh...just now noticed that I forgot to mention at the beginning of my previous post, that it was your post that I was responding to.

Looking forward to further dialogue.


Grace and peace,

David

Iohannes said...

Hi David,

Letham speaks similarly in Through Western Eyes, his book on Eastern Orthodoxy. Yet I can't believe Gregory would approve of calling the Son and Spirit autotheos. Take, for example, the famous passage in Or. 29.2. Suppose that by "a Monarchy that is not limited to one Person," Gregory meant to deny that the Son and Spirit derive their deity from the Father. Then Gregory is reversing himself in the very next section! For he says,

How then are They not alike unoriginate (συναναρχα), if They are coeternal (συναιδια)? Because They are from Him, though not after Him. For that which is unoriginate (αναρχον) is eternal (αιδιον), but that which is eternal (αιδιον) is not necessarily unoriginate (αναρχον), so long as it may be referred to the Father as its origin (εως αν εις αρχην αναφερηται τον πατερα).

If each person were autotheos, the Three would be co-unoriginate (συναναρχα). That's precisely what Gregory rejects. He allows a sense in which the Son and Spirit can be called unoriginate, namely "in respect of time." He's crystal clear, however, that "in respect of cause They are not unoriginate" (ουκ αναρχα ουν τω αιτιω).

FWIW, I think it's more likely that scholars have read Torrance into Gregory than that Gregory anticipated Torrance.

Blessings in Christ,

John

Lvka said...

Dave,


all I know is that I personally do not see in any of the patristic passages that you cited what these scholars venture to read there. (Not even close. It simply doesn't make logical sense).

Also, peri-enchoresis has nothing to do with either Origen(?) or auto-theos(?) or green men from Mars, for that matter. (Where on earth THIS one came from is beyond me..)

Furthermore, it can't be evolution either, since neither before them, nor after them was the Church auto-theotic with regards to the Son and the Holy Spirit.

Lvka said...

When we look at the Godhead, the primal cause, the sole sovereignty, we have a mental picture of the single whole,
certainly.


The common Godhead of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit is the primal cause of, and sole sovereignity over creation.

It is utterly absurd to say that this refers to Father, Son, and Holy Spirit as all-three-equally-originating-each-other-and-themselves, AND all-three-equally-ruling-over-each-other-and-themselves also. (It just doesn't make any logical sense whatsoever to take it this way).


But when we look at the three in whom the Godhead exists, and at those who derive their timeless and equally glorious being from the primal cause, we have three objects of worship.

Equally-glorious here refers to equally-glorious-to-their-cause (not to each other: though they are, of course, equally-glorious to each other also, but that's not what this here is about).

Primal cause here refers to the Father as Arche to His Son and Spirit, and "those who derive their timeless and equally glorious [ie, of equal-glory to their Cause] being from the primal cause" refers to the Son and the Spirit, Who are originated.

The "three objects of worship" here are "the Primal Cause" and "those [two] who derive their timeless and equally glorious being from the Primal Cause". (1 + 2 = 3)

To try and twist the Saint's words not only against others, but EVEN against *himself* is absurd and question-begging.

Lvka said...

And here's a simple way of seeing for yourself that I am right: the first two views, in the PDF-document, openly declare the Saint to either contradict himself, OR be significantly "sloppy", OR even intentionally deceitful [in the way he cunningly and purposefully jumps from one meaning to another in various passages, depending on which one suits best his purpose], whereas the third view requires no such question-begging (and even slandering) assertions on the part of the reader, rendering coherence to the whole. (Ockham's Razor).

Iohannes said...

PS Not to be unduly provocative, but I think Gregory if anything did the exact opposite of what Torrance and Letham suggest. Far from affirming the ontological equality of the persons by making each one autotheos, he affirmed their ontological equality by denying that being unoriginate is included in the divine essence! As Beeley says, that's probably what has confused so many Western interpreters: they implicitly make the same assumption as the Cappadocians' opponents, viz. that if the Father alone is unoriginate, then the Son and Spirit are inferior in essence. Perhaps Gregory's point would be clearer is Or. 29.15 weren't botched in the NPNF translation. Here's an alternative version:

tinyurl.com/4dmcsvq

Also, A. J. Mason's commentary on the passage is worth checking out:

tinyurl.com/4ammshy

Jnorm said...

LVKA and John,


I don't think David is listening. For he said this to LVKA

Quote:
"I suspect that many EO theologians sense a ‘need’ to reconcile certain passages of each individual Cappadocian that are in tension, as well as all three viewed together…"




Why does David think we are the ones in the wrong? Why won't he say such things about Letham? This is what John said about Letham:

Quote:
"Letham speaks similarly in Through Western Eyes, his book on Eastern Orthodoxy. Yet I can't believe Gregory would approve of calling the Son and Spirit autotheos. Take, for example, the famous passage in Or. 29.2. Suppose that by "a Monarchy that is not limited to one Person," Gregory meant to deny that the Son and Spirit derive their deity from the Father. Then Gregory is reversing himself in the very next section! For he says,"



Why does David think we are the ones misinterpreting them?


David,

What do you think both LVKA and John are saying about Monarchy in regards to this issue?


I could be wrong, but how I understand what they are saying is:

If both the Son and Holy Spirit could be called Monarchy. It is because they both are undivided from the Father who alone is the Source. The source of not only their Person, but also their Essence.

And so in our mind. There is no such thing as an Essence outside of all Three Persons. As if the Essence is the One God in where Three Persons dwell.

To us, the Father is the Source, and so the Essence is dependent on Him. And since both the Son and Holy Spirit come from the Father. They Share His Essence.


This is why LVKA said:
Quote:
"Because the Son and Spirit share in the same essence as the Father, they also share in the same monarchy (over creation) as Him. It's even absurd to interpret it otherwise: does the Son share in the Father's Arche over the Trinity? Does the Son beget itself? Does He spirate the Holy Ghost? Does the Holy Spirit beget the Son or spirate itself? -- It's absurd!"


I think LVKA's interpretation is more consistent with their over all thought. Our Tradition isn't the same as the western tradition. If it was then we would be saying the samething as them. No! They are the ones trying to stay true to Saint Augustine's mono-essence over the Three Persons as well as the Reformed bi to tri auto-theos theory.

They are reading all of that foreign stuff into this situation. But yet, we are the ones who are blamed with reading stuff into them. It's not fair! And it's not right!

David Waltz said...

Hi John,

Thanks much for responding; you penned:

>> Letham speaks similarly in Through Western Eyes, his book on Eastern Orthodoxy. Yet I can't believe Gregory would approve of calling the Son and Spirit autotheos. Take, for example, the famous passage in Or. 29.2. Suppose that by "a Monarchy that is not limited to one Person," Gregory meant to deny that the Son and Spirit derive their deity from the Father. Then Gregory is reversing himself in the very next section! For he says,>>

Me: Unless I have completely misread Letham and Torrance, the primary point of contention for them is not derivation per se, but rather, whether it is the person or divinity/essence that is derived from the Father—following Calvin, Letham and Torrance affirm the former, and deny the latter.

BTW, where do YOU stand on this issue?

>> FWIW, I think it's more likely that scholars have read Torrance into Gregory than that Gregory anticipated Torrance.>>

Me: Good point John, I will certainly keep this in mind as I continue my studies on the 4th century Fathers.


Grace and peace,

David

P.S. On a more personal note, would you mind sharing where you are currently fellowshipping/worshipping ?

David Waltz said...

Hi Jnorm,

So nice to see you back; you wrote:

>> I don't think David is listening...

...Why does David think we are the ones in the wrong? Why won't he say such things about Letham?>>

Me: First, I don't think you three are "wrong", for as I have stated on numerous occasions, I believe in the monarchy of God the Father; second, I have some reservations concerning the overall EO position due to the fact that some EO theologians and bishops side with Torrance's stance (which Letham seems to embrace). This raises some serious 'red-flags' (IMHO). These gents have signed a joint commission document, I have not (I remain 'open' as to what the Cappadocians actually taught); so, it seems to me that your greater concern/s should be with your fellow EO brothers.

But, with that said, I do appreciate your input, and sincerely hope you continue sharing your thoughts here.


God bless,

David

Iohannes said...

Hi David,

My honest opinion is that Letham, Torrance, Warfield and Calvin are mistaken about this. But they can't be faulted too much, as if the mistake were unique to them. For by calling the Son autotheos, they're only putting in pointed form a misconception that's entrenched in the Western Church. That's why Bellarmine, though he refrained from calling the Son autotheos, could defend Calvin's basic orthodoxy on this point.

Bishop Bull sums up my thoughts in section 7 here:

tinyurl.com/49c2b5t

There are places in Gregory where, if context is suppressed, he might be read as supporting Torrance et al. For example, in Or. 30.11 he says:

It is in respect of this that it is said "I live by the Father;" not as though His Life and Being were kept together by the Father, but because He has His Being (υπαρχοντος) from Him beyond all time, and beyond all cause (αναιτιως).

The "beyond all cause" might seem to favor the Son as autotheos in Calvin's sense, but there are two problems with that interpretation:

1) In the preceding sentence Gregory says plainly: "Their very being (αυτο το ειναι) is common and equal, although the Son has it from the Father." Thus, it's not just the "person" that derives from the Father.

2) We shouldn't let an obscure phrase override what's clear elsewhere. Here is Mason's comment on αναιτιως: "It is difficult to assign a meaning to the word in this connexion. Gr. has frequently affirmed that the Father is the αιτια of the Son. It must therefore mean 'without any intermediate or secondary cause.'"

The West, in my opinion, to the extent it has "developed" Trinitarianism beyond the Cappadocians, has been carrying on, not a legitimate development, but a hypertrophy of doctrine. You need a theory like Newman's if you want to call the Son autotheos. You need it too if you want the filioque as an answer for why the Spirit and the Son aren't brothers. But if you want to be faithful to Gregory and Basil, you don't need it--and if you want to be faithful to Irenaeus you should positively avoid it.

I say that because, just as we need to be careful about reading Torrance into Gregory, we need also to be careful about reading Newman into him. Two more things need to be kept in mind with Or. 31.26:

1) By "the case of Theology" Gregory most likely means, not religious doctrine in general, but theology proper, the doctrine of God (in contrast to economy). It's in that sense, after all, that he is St. Gregory "the Theologian."

2) The immediate question he's addressing is how the orthodox can call the Spirit θεος. Scripture doesn't explicitly call the Spirit 'God', and even Basil, although he firmly believed the Spirit is God, had avoided saying so overtly. Gregory therefore has to vindicate his manner of speaking, and he does this by saying we shouldn't be "a slave to the letter," or "a follower of syllables at the expense of facts." (31.24) His point is not that the apostles left us in any doubt about whether the Spirit is to be worshiped and glorified with the Father and the Son. Rather, he's saying that if we really believe that, then we should be willing to say what it necessarily implies: namely, that the Spirit, like the Father and the Son, is God.

My two cents, anyhow.

Blessings in Christ,

John

Iohannes said...

PS I'm a reformed protestant and a member of one of the NAPARC churches. Sometimes I attend Anglican services. When I lived in the UK I had no trouble conforming to the Church of England.

Lvka said...

"An-aitios" there refers to being un-created. And "aitios" refers to Him being begotten. [Begotten, not made, et al]. He's neither created as the Arians would have it, nor un-originate, as Calvin would have it.

Iohannes said...

PPS Although I had assumed Bellarmine understood Calvin correctly, looking again at Warfield's essay I'm not so sure. Nonetheless, my impression is that only Calvin's conclusion was new, not the premises by which he reached it. In other words, Calvin reaped what others (in the West) had sown.

Iohannes said...

David,

I'm sorry to burden you with so many comments, but after thinking about something you said earlier, I'd like to add one more. You wrote,

For now, I cannot help but wonder if it is presuppositions (and not the actual core data) that is fueling the diversity.

After reviewing Warfield, that seems quite plausible to me. According to him, "What must be affirmed of Him [the Son] if we would recognize His true deity is not merely that He could not but exist, but that the ground of His existence is in Himself."

My guess is, that assumption, which is probably more philosophical than theological in origin, has given rise to much confusion among interpreters of Gregory.

If the assumption is granted, two paths are open. We can say,

(a) Christ is God and therefore is self-existent;

or,

(b) Christ is not self-existent and therefore is not God

But isn't that basically the dilemma the Eunomians posed to Gregory? (cf. Or. 29.15) I think he answered it, not by embracing (a), but by challenging the assumption that self-existence is included in the divine nature. The Son and the Spirit can then be fully divine without being self-existent in sense Calvin requires.

Warfield holds that saying the Son is necessarily existent--"that the existence of the Son is not dependent on the divine will"--is insufficient to guard his deity. It's conceivable, he says, that creation also is necessary.

Whether that's conceivable or not, is it relevant to how the early church approached the relation of the Word and Spirit to the Father? Or were they working with something like the analogy of a man's spirit?

A man's spirit exists because the man exists, and the spirit is human because the man is human. Unlike the spirit of a man, God's Spirit is a unique person. It's true the analogy breaks down at that point, but it remains the case that the Spirit is divine because He is God's Spirit, and that the Spirit exists because God exists.

I think that's how Bp. Bull would meet Warfield's challenge. Bull holds that the Father is the principle of the Son and of the Holy Ghost, and that both are propagated from Him, "by an internal and not an external production;" from which it results, that They not only are of the Father, but in the Father, and the Father in Them; and that in the Holy Trinity, one Person cannot be separated from another as three human persons, or individuals of any other species, are divided from another. (tinyurl.com/6gftb4n)

Jnorm said...

David said:
"second, I have some reservations concerning the overall EO position due to the fact that some EO theologians and bishops side with Torrance's stance (which Letham seems to embrace). This raises some serious 'red-flags' (IMHO). These gents have signed a joint commission document, I have not (I remain 'open' as to what the Cappadocians actually taught); so, it seems to me that your greater concern/s should be with your fellow EO brothers."



Don't you know that we have people that openly deny the traditional teachings on a nuumber of things? We have people that deny the traditional teaching in regards to abortion.

Does this mean Orthodoxy is no longer pro-life? No!



We have people that think it's ok to ordain women priests and bishops.

Does this mean Orthodoxy no longer believes that only men can be Bishops and Priests? No!


We have people that think gay marriage for the church is ok.

I can go on and on and on.


We have alot of Orthodox scholars that love higher critical scholarship. Most of whom still seem more conservative and traditional than most of their protestant counterparts. But they exist. And so you will always have people that will seek other things.

But guess what? You will still have Orthodox people that will support the traditional views as well. It's always been this way.

You don't do this with Rome or with Protestants, but you are doing it with us.

David Waltz said...

Hi John,

Thanks much for your responses; you posted:

>>I'm sorry to burden you with so many comments, but after thinking about something you said earlier, I'd like to add one more.>>

Me: Your participation has been anything but a "burden"; I have thoroughly enjoyed your comments, finding them to be informative and thought provoking.

>>You wrote,

For now, I cannot help but wonder if it is presuppositions (and not the actual core data) that is fueling the diversity.

After reviewing Warfield, that seems quite plausible to me. According to him, "What must be affirmed of Him [the Son] if we would recognize His true deity is not merely that He could not but exist, but that the ground of His existence is in Himself."

My guess is, that assumption, which is probably more philosophical than theological in origin, has given rise to much confusion among interpreters of Gregory.

If the assumption is granted, two paths are open. We can say,

(a) Christ is God and therefore is self-existent;

or,

(b) Christ is not self-existent and therefore is not God

But isn't that basically the dilemma the Eunomians posed to Gregory? (cf. Or. 29.15) I think he answered it, not by embracing (a), but by challenging the assumption that self-existence is included in the divine nature. The Son and the Spirit can then be fully divine without being self-existent in sense Calvin requires.>>

Me: I agree with pretty much all of the above. As you know, the 'difficulty' facing any Trinitarian is the task of presenting a consistent, non-contradictory position between modalism and tritheism. This leads to the question: were the Cappadocians successful? A good number of 'Western' trinitarians say NO, believing that they are actually tritheiests. But, as you know, the charge of modalism has been the counter of many EO and/or social trinitarians against the predominant 'Western' understanding; which, if carried to its logical conclusion, leads one to Calvin's position. (All this has me 're-thinking' the various trajectories of doctrinal development—especially the role that Origen's doctrine of 'eternal generation' played.

>>I think that's how Bp. Bull would meet Warfield's challenge. Bull holds that the Father is the principle of the Son and of the Holy Ghost, and that both are propagated from Him, "by an internal and not an external production;" from which it results, that They not only are of the Father, but in the Father, and the Father in Them; and that in the Holy Trinity, one Person cannot be separated from another as three human persons, or individuals of any other species, are divided from another. (tinyurl.com/6gftb4n) >>

Me: It has been over a decade since I last read Bull's 2 volume Defensio fidei Nicaenae, doing so because of Newman's rather harsh criticisms. Thanks for bringing his work back to mind.

[BTW, how does one access a specific single page in Google Books???]

Before ending this post, I want to bring to your attention that I was able to obtain a pdf copy of Richard Cross', "Divine Monarchy in Gregory of Nazianus" (2006); if you are interested in the essay, and do not have a copy, send me an email and I will place it in your 'hands'.


Grace and peace,

David

David Waltz said...

Hi Jnorm,

In your last post you wrote:

>>We have alot of Orthodox scholars that love higher critical scholarship. Most of whom still seem more conservative and traditional than most of their protestant counterparts. But they exist. And so you will always have people that will seek other things.

But guess what? You will still have Orthodox people that will support the traditional views as well. It's always been this way.

You don't do this with Rome or with Protestants, but you are doing it with us.>>

Me: What did you mean by "this"? If you meant that I am not entirely convinced that the 'traditional' understanding of doctrinal development presents some 'problems', then I must disagree here, for I HAVE been critical of a number of 'traditional' views of DD held by both Catholics and Prots, especially as it relates to the pre-Nicene CFs.


Grace and peace,

David

Iohannes said...

Hi David,

Maybe I'm wrong about this, but East and West appear divided in how perichoresis functions within their theologies. To put the matter starkly, in the East, perichoresis is a consequence of the Son and Spirit's derivation from the Father, whereas in the West, it tends to become a substitute for strong ideas of derivation. Again, the East starts with one God, the Father, whose Logos and Spirit are genuinely distinct persons, and yet remain his Word and his Spirit. The West, I fear, tends toward downplaying that last fact in the interest of avoiding any eternal subordination within the Trinity. My guess is, that's where contemporary denials of the eternal generation of the Son ultimately come from. And denying the eternal spiration of the Spirit seems the logical end result.

Anyhow, the Eastern approach seems more biblical and more consonant with what the early Christians believed. It can straightforwardly account for the analogy in verses like 1 Cor. 2:11. It also has less trouble accounting for why the Son, and not the Father or the Spirit, was incarnated.

BTW, how does one access a specific single page in Google Books???

Google Books puts a toolbar just above the page being displayed. One of the tools is "Link." If you click the button, you can copy and past a hyperlink to the page. Just make sure the page number after "&pg=PA" is correct.

Before ending this post, I want to bring to your attention that I was able to obtain a pdf copy of Richard Cross', "Divine Monarchy in Gregory of Nazianus" (2006); if you are interested in the essay, and do not have a copy, send me an email and I will place it in your 'hands'.

Thanks! If there are no copyright troubles with sending the essay, I'd be interested in reading it.

Blessings in Christ,

John

Jnorm said...

David,


In another post you were talking with someone else about using conservative protestant material when talking with conservative protestants. And refusing to use liberal protestant resources in that discussion. You also said that you do the same when it comes to conservative Roman Catholics.

There are a number of Orthodox that will embrace anything and everything modern.....in regards to science, Roman Catholicism and Protestantism. They will deny or argue against the traditional views because they feel that either modern protestant(mostly liberal, but sometimes not) scholarship or Roman Catholic (sometimes liberal, but sometimes not) scholarship or modern science proved the older views as out dated and wrong. They will call us anti-intellectual, fundies......etc.

And so, a number of Orthodox may be following certain protestant scholars.....not because what the protestant scholar says is true, but because a number of Orthodox simply prefer to chew their teeth on either Protestant, Roman Catholic or Secular scholarship. It's been this way for centuries! And so don't expect all of us to say the samething on every issue just because we are Orthodox. Some of us prefer to chew our theological teeth elsewhere. While others still prefer to preserve and make use of our own tradition and chew our teeth on it.

A number of Orthodox complained throughout the centuries of us always using Roman Catholic arguments in order to fight the protestants or using Protestant arguments in fighting against Roman Catholics. Well, a number of Orthodox got tired of that and urged that we go deep in our own tradition and heritage, and to simply use that to argue against both Protestantism and Roman Catholicism.

Lvka said...

The Orthodox "lex orandi, lex credendi" on the Holy Trinity:

www.anastasis.org.uk/sun1nc.htm
www.anastasis.org.uk/sun3nc.htm
www.anastasis.org.uk/sun4nc.htm
www.anastasis.org.uk/sun5nc.htm
www.anastasis.org.uk/sun6nc.htm
www.anastasis.org.uk/sun7nc.htm

Strider said...

Hello, I stumbled on this article this morning. A very interesting conversation. I haven't followed all the comments, so perhaps someone else has already mentioned this: Letter 8 by Basil of Caesarea that you cite in your article is now generally recognized as not being an authentic epistle by Basil. The identification of the Holy Spirit as God is atypical for Basil, e.g. Some scholars attribute the letter to Evagrius Ponticus.

On the question of the divine monarchy in St Gregory of Nazianzus, take a look at this article by Christopher Beeley: http://goo.gl/zRPvS.

I am presently blogging Gregory. Please come by for a visit: Eclectic Orthodoxy (http://afkimel.wordpress.com/).


David Waltz said...

Hi Strider,

Thanks much for taking the time to comment. In your post you wrote:

== Hello, I stumbled on this article this morning. A very interesting conversation. I haven't followed all the comments, so perhaps someone else has already mentioned this: Letter 8 by Basil of Caesarea that you cite in your article is now generally recognized as not being an authentic epistle by Basil. The identification of the Holy Spirit as God is atypical for Basil, e.g. Some scholars attribute the letter to Evagrius Ponticus.==

Don't think anyone mentioned this in the thread, but yes, you are absolutely correct, "Some scholars attribute the letter to Evagrius Ponticus." I first learned of this from Bertrand de Margerie in his book, The Christian Trinity in History (see pp. 122, 123 - especially footnote #2 on page 123).

== On the question of the divine monarchy in St Gregory of Nazianzus, take a look at this article by Christopher Beeley: http://goo.gl/zRPvS.==

Thanks for the link. I have read Beeley's Gregory of Nazianzus on the Trinity and the Knowledge of God: In Your Light We Shall See Light, but was totally unaware of this essay. Will check it out shortly.

== I am presently blogging Gregory. Please come by for a visit: Eclectic Orthodoxy (http://afkimel.wordpress.com/).==

I will, though it may be next Monday before I can do so.

Thanks again for stopping by and commenting.


Grace and peace,

David