Friday, November 18, 2005

Meyendorff on Divine Energies

From Trinitarian Theology East and West with Michael Fahey, S.J., pp. 34-35 [emphasis original]:

As the young Greek theologian Christos Yannaras has recently shown in a quite remarkable book ("The Person and Eros"), the true ontological existence of personhood is revealed through a self-emptying extasis toward the other. The divine energies represent God's existence, His outpouring love *outside* of His essence, i.e., in creation. They are, therefore, and very prominently, the manifestation of God as three Persons . . . But if the being of God, as three Persons, is revealed ad extra through the energies, as existence *towards the others*, it is also expressed in the internal life of God by the relations of the three divine Persons *towards each other*. Therefore,the doctrine of the uncreated energies is not only a manifestation of the personal being of God ad extra. It would be impossible and meaningless if God were not Love *in Himself*, if He were not *Trinity*

Angels cap tip to Jason for the reference. Yannaras was brought to my attention by the Cogitator for Yannaras's work On the Absence and Unknowability of God, which articulated similarities and differences between Heidegger and the Pseudo-Dionysian view of divine transcendence (notably, Yannaras comes to the same conclusion as Zubiri: Heidegger goes astray in identifying God with Being). It looks to me that Meyendorff (through Yannaras) is probing the same question that motivated Bonaventure's innovative notion of love: namely, how does the ad intra Trinitarian love relate to our participation in the divine nature? I also note Meyendorff's introduction of the term "relations" (schesis in the patristic usage; see Gregory Theologian, 3rd Theol. Or. (Or. 29)), something that may ultimately be helpful in understanding how the ideas of St. Augustine and St. Gregory Theologian might be harmonized (even though they used the term in quite different ways). At any rate, this looks to me like we are groping at the same subject from two directions (East and West), and that is a promising sign.