Saturday, 17 September 2016

Henry Karlson: After Aquinas, Palamas

Henry Karlson: After Aquinas, Palamas

"We see, therefore, St. Gregory Palamas was interested in grace, more as it relates to God and continues to be united with God, while St. Thomas Aquinas was interested in the subjective experience of said grace. Theologically, St. Thomas Aquinas, by calling such grace in God as the substantial good in God, he was always implying its proper, uncreated nature, that it reflects the goodness we find in God. But for St. Thomas, the interest and concern was for how grace is experienced in us, and as it is an experience which changes over time, as we cooperate with grace, then it is added to us and becomes, as it were, an action in time and therefore “created.” The grace as it is in God remains the same, the same eternal goodness of God, but our experience with the unchanging activity of God is in time, and so his actions seem to be creating new effects within the realm of becoming. The debate, therefore, is over conventions, which are not absolutes, and are similar to debates we find as to how Scripture and its conventions are to be interpreted. When God is said to repent in Scripture,[7] orthodox theological interpretations point out that it is only the appearance of a change of mind in God to those reacting to God’s actions in relation to creation: the one eternal act remains the same, but in the realm of becoming, it is experienced in relation to that becoming and not in accordance to God’s being. Thus, in being able to understand “repentance” or metanoia or change of mind in God in a conventional sense, in relation to our temporal changing experience of our relationship with God, so we can understand “created grace” as reflective of the way grace is experienced by us in time, and not as to what grace is by its nature."

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