Discover more from Джон’s Theologoumena: Another Minority Report
Beyond the Sophianic to the Neo-Chalcedonian – actually, it’s good
Beyond the Sophianic to the Neo-Chalcedonian – or how haecceities & energies can help provide us a more robust account for actuality of the divine essence
I don’t invoke a Neo-Chalcedonian hypostatic identity to overcome lingering aporetic, antinomial or paradoxical Chalcedonian “problems” with reconciling natural incompatibilities. I already accept that they’re ex Deo – compatible & in an harmonious sophianic relationship.
The question isn’t about reconciling natures in an hypostasis. What we’re asking, rather, are questions like:
How should we define our self-identities?
What sources our distinct hypostatic othernesses?
What makes the Many different from the One such that emanation doesn’t lead back to a divisible monism?
How do we account for our personal differences along with our constitutive identity?
The work being done by any concept of hypostatic relational power has to do with answering such intersubjective questions, above, and not with explaining natural (sophianic – ex Deo) unions, in other words with hypostatic – not natural, but – personal unions.
These are not questions regarding our natures but about the nonformal aspects of our personhood, what Peirce called brute actualities, Scotus – haecceities, trinitarians – ineffable idiomata, etc
These realities affirm the divine omnipresencing of creation’s shadows & vestiges and the mutual indwellings of its images & likenesses.
Ontological participation, alone, might account for how creation’s omnipresenced shadows & vestiges come about determinedly, but it doesn’t address how it’s images can self-determinedly become likenesses. We aren’t mere passive participants. We are acting co-creators. Clarke defines self-identity as “the active power of self-maintenance in exchange with others.”
We are active powers, brute actualities or personal haecceities, whose distinct concrete acts, when free & intelligent, are peculiar personal expressions of the power to love.
We commence our journeys relatively perfect & good. We synergistically grow our hypostatic identities through deification.
Using Damascene’s distinctions between the operative, operating, operator & operated may be helpful here. We can map them to, respectively, essences, energeia, entities (personal & social) & effects. As operators, we, as personal entities, employ our co-creative power to concretely express & exercise what’s operative per our essence. Essentially, our will is our most proper & primary property.
So, again, how should we define our self-identities? What sources our distinct hypostatic othernesses? What makes the Many different from the One such that emanation doesn’t lead back to a divisible monism? How do we account for our personal differences along with our constitutive identity?
The answer to those questions is our “creaturely freedom,” which is nothing other than our “power to love.” Such an emanation, then, can only lead to a multiplicative monism (not a supraindividual being but an intersubjective doing).
Enhypostasization, then, doesn’t just refer to how persons accommodate differences in nature, participatorily & ontologically, but it accounts for our hypostatic identities, perichoretically & personally, corporately & constitutively, which is to say, reciprocally & theophanically, vis a vis the Totus Christus (hence, Christogonically per Christ’s esse secundum).
This is all to recognize that, while our natural participation in divine perfections will only ever be relative, i.e. none of us will ever be omniscient (truth), omnipathic (beauty), omnibenevolent (goodness), omnipresent (being), omnipotent (freedom) or omniunitive (unity), still, constitutively, per both our acts & relations (operations & identities), there is a certain hypostatic symmetry in that, as Christ became human in all ways but sin, we’re eternally becoming divine in no way but love. That’s to recognize that, like Christ, we don’t deem equality with God, in those natural aspects, anything to be grasped after. While Christ, in no measure, ever ontologically negated any attribute of His divine nature, He did operationally occult some – when it would advance His loving aims, which are never ultimately frustratable.
Above all else, then, He & the Holy Spirit chose to manifest the Father’s love, while inviting & empowering us to do the same – not just bilaterally, but – symmetrically, which is to say, via a noetic identity & an energetic co-operation that will gift us the same enjoyment experienced by the Trinity in their own perichoretic unity! To be clear, this will amount to a quidditative knowledge – though not comprehension – of the divine essence in the beatific vision, which can grow epectatically & eternally.
This is to finally suggest that hypostatic logics, including haecceities & energies, do not entail mere ad hoc strategies to deal with natural differences between nondeterminate & determinate being. Peirce, Scotus & others fruitfully (heuristically not explicatively) employ these categories, philosophically, in their metaphysics of determinate being. They help us locate instances in nature where free choices have entered the scene & influenced probabilistic outcomes!
To wit, consider Fr Christiaan Kappes’ account of the causal role of things that seem to flow out of the identity of the being’s haecceity:
Aristotle’s standard account of accidents (as repeated and adopted by Aquinas) is not relevant for Scotus’ analysis of divine attributes. Duns’ way of looking at things seems to assume that accidents (attributes) don’t have to inhere in matter. Matter is an entity, not just Aquinas’ (objective) potentiality. It may have a relationship with forms, but accidents are really active attributes within a being (i.e. energies). They seem to flow out of the identity of the being’s individuating perfection (haecceity), and as such aren’t the types of things that just inhere. They actually have a causal role in nature, and as such are another rich instance of interplay among themselves. God’s energies, in parallel fashion, are simply necessary to give a full account of the actuality of divine essence.
re: metaphors of incandescence & whether or not & how they might qualify the mystical claim that concepts fade entirely
Let me begin with my ending:
I especially thought of Tom Belt and Fr. Behr, when I first came across this:
[W]ith Maximus, Bonaventure turns the Dionysian apophatic to a Christological proclamation. … If you seek the Dionysian “superessential ray of the divine darkness,” he suggests, you are entering the silent darkness of death with Christ crucified.
~ Paul Rorem, Negative Theologies and the Cross, Cambridge University Press: 01 October 2008
Now, let me start at the beginning:
Lossky was on the right track in conceiving some mystical experiences in terms of ineffability within an apophatic, perichoretic context, i.e. as a transrational relational reference (not a metaphysical description).
This is how some interpret certain nonduality teachings in Buddhist & Hindu traditions, i.e. as not doing metaphysics but as leading one into experiences or real-izations.
Staniloae went further with more rigor & nuance than Lossky. He referred to ineffable experiences as – not only transrational, but – trans-apophatic. While he certainly included 1) logocentric negations, speculatively; 2) transrational ineffability, experientially; and 3) divine encounters that go beyond – not only the inferential & intuitive, but – even the affective;
Staniloae, by trans-apophatic, drew a perichoretic distinction that recognized how we also inter-ACT with God in a synergy.
Synergistically, then, we, as operators (Damascene), come to operatively know, better & better, the Author of such works (Bradshaw), while, at the same time, becoming more & more authentically ourselves via deification (Cappadocian).
And this brings us full circle back to Maximus, Bonaventure, Fr Behr & Tom Belt.
Don’t these excerpts, below, from Rorem’s article, tie-together our insights re both certain mystical claims & the role of death in theosis? Even Bonaventure went beyond – not only the conceptual, but – the affective to the operative, describing it, Christo-logically, in a most definitive way, i.e. death’s our final theotic threshold?
I wonder, ergo, if the light & air and fire & iron metaphors, which capture the various harmonious natural differences of asymmetric ontological participations might be less apt for the interpersonal perichoretic dynamics of theosis & the beatific vision?
It’s not naturally & asymmetrically (re operative essences) but hypostatically & symmetrically (re both acts or operations as well as relations or identities) that we’ll beatifically enjoy & theophanically manifest the very same perichoretic delights in the divine essence as do the persons of the Trinity?
Furthermore, even regarding the natural differences of divine & human essences, we can more precisely locate those asymmetries, modally, in our tropoi, which are modally finite, and not in the divine logoi of our divine perfections, which are modally relative.
So, the analogy of being affirms a symmetry vis a vis divine humanization & human divinization in terms of participable logoi (perfections) ex Deo as well as in terms of perichoretic acts (operations) and relations (identity), while recognizing a modal asymmetry vis a vis both the intensities of our beatitude, which can vary, even, person to person, as well as the scopes of our theophanic manifestations, which we co-self-determine via our autonomous soul-crafting.
Because all of those above-listed particular eschatological properties are thus imparted symmetrically (via both a synergy of energeia & noetic identity, constitutively, as well as essentially, via logoi & perfections), the classic Stoic example of the mixing of wine with water might be a suitable metaphor for deification with its reciprocal divine – human loving dispositions of personal unity (involving bilateral interpenetrations), all ordered toward the intersubjective unity of doing of the Totus Christus.
By the mystery of this water and wine may we come to share in the divinity of Christ who humbled himself to share in our humanity.