Wednesday, August 10, 2022

On Natural Theology and Jordan Steffaniak's version of it

Some time ago on the London Lyceum, Jordan Steffaniak posted an article arguing that a recovery of Natural Theology is necessary and that the doctrine is indeed Reformed. Steffaniak first defined what he thinks Natural Theology is not, what it is, and argues for its pressence in various Reformed Confessional arguments and the writings of Reformed theologians up to the present time. As someone who is critical of Natural Theology and has written a book review of David Haines' book on the matter, I was of course intrigued by the article. I have read it, and would thus like to make some comments on it

In the article, Steffaniak first states what he believes Natural Theology is not. According to Steffaniak,

  1. Natural theology isn’t identical to the arguments for the existence of God (e.g., the cosmological argument, the teleological argument, etc.)
  2. Natural theology isn’t a means of understanding God in contradiction to supernatural theology (Scripture)
  3. Natural theology isn’t a means of understanding God completely apart from the norming norm of supernatural theology (Scripture)
  4. Natural theology isn’t required to begin apart from Scripture
  5. Natural theology isn’t a foundation from which supernatural theology is built
  6. Natural theology isn’t a project of natural salvation apart from Scripture

So what is Natural Theology? Natural Theology is to be defined as:

The task of utilizing natural means via our renewed reason (i.e., the light of nature) in service of theological construction under the authority of Scripture, the guidance of the Holy Spirit, and the context of the church.

In footnote 3, Steffaniak rejects Haines' definition of Natural Theology. According to Steffaniak,

Haines is right in some respects but wrong in the neutrality of natural theology. It is not alone. Indeed, no such natural theology is even possible for the Christian given their previous acquaintance with supernatural theology.

On Steffaniak's concept of Natural Theology

How should we think about Steffaniak's take on Natural Theology? Most certainly, Steffaniak has removed the objectionable parts of what is normally termed "Natural Theology." First of all, I am glad that Natural Theology is not to be seen as identical with arguments on the existence of God. But most importantly, Natural Theology is not to be thought of being apart from Scripture, function as a foundation for supernatural theology, and be in any way salvific. These are the most objectionable parts of "Natural Theology." Natural Theology being construed as utilizing natural means via renewed reason to understand God and the world is something one can find and defend in Scripture, and most certainly is taught in the Reformed Confessions and by many Reformed theologians. In this sense, "Natural Theology" as Steffaniak has construed it sounds almost if not identical with what I would consider General Revelation (and Natural Law as part of that General Revelation), and thus I would accept it as wholly biblical. Perhaps some clarification could be offered here?

What is in a name?

Having said that, I would like to question this move by Steffaniak. Perhaps it is good retrieving this particular term "Natural Theology" in this particular orthodox sense. But should we "redeem" this phrase? I would like to note that Haines' definition is more than just postulating a natural theology for Christians, but goes beyond that to make "Natural Theology" a sort of common ground whereby unbelievers can discuss true things concerning God. After all, Haines in his book did define it as "that part of philosophy that explores what man can know about God ... without presupposing the truth of any religion"' (Haines, Natural Theology: A Biblical and Historical Introduction and Defense, 12). It seems from my reading that Haines' natural theology is accessible to unbelievers, not just Christians. Haines' Natural Theology thus seems to be related to ressourcement and the idea that one should return to the "pristine philosophy" of "Christian Platonism" and Aristotelianism.

More importantly for the purpose at hand, from my experience at least, the default understanding of "natural theology" among many people is that it is theology done apart from the Scriptures, done by exegeting nature or thinking philosophically. Perhaps Steffaniak has a different experience from mine, but I wold suggest that a significant number of people have this definition of "Natural Theology" in mind when they hear of this phrase. Given that the exact phrase "natural theology" is not biblical and not confessional, is it necessary for us to retrieve this phrase as Steffaniak has done? Could we just use the phrase "general revelation" instead, or must we use a phrase that seems to me liable to much misunderstanding?

Concluding thoughts

In conclusion, Steffaniak's article on Natural Theology is helpful. But I am still not convinced that we must "retrieve" this particular phrase. I am not even sure that Steffaniak's retrieval is helpful in discussons about Natural Theology, for imagine the confusion when participants possess different definitions of "natural theology" and talk past each other. Would Steffaniak's retrieval aid clarity to the discussions about natural theology, or only cause more confusion when one engages those using Haime's defintion of the phrase? At least for the moment, I would continue being critical of the phrase, and use the phrases "General Revelation" and "Natural Law" instead of "Natural Theology."

Saturday, August 06, 2022

On Lane Tipton on classical theism and theistic mutualism

Some time back, Lane Tipton had done a program with Lutheran Jordan B. Cooper on the issue of "classical theism and theistic mutualism." Dr. Tipton is a Van Tilian and also a classical theist. With the reputation of some Vantillians as being slanted towards theistic mutualism, this discussion between Cooper and Tipton was a helpful one in this regard.

The main question here is, of course, what is "theistic mutualism." As stated by Tipton, "theistic mutualism" is the idea that God somehow changes in his being in reaction/ relation towards creation. Now, there may be someone who does hold to theistic mutualism as defined by Tipton here, but even Dr. Oliphant's book God with Us does not teach this definition of "theistic mutualism." (Having relational properties that are not essential does not imply change in being) Another unusual thing from Tipton is this idea that everywhere we read about Cornelius Van Til's criticism of pantheism, we need to read "theistic mutualism." While Van Til would most likely be against all forms of non classical theisms, I do not believe it is helpful to make anachronistic claims like these since "theistic mutualism" was not present during Van Til's time.

This discussion is certainly helpful in part for those interested in the doctrine of God. Yet, I truly wonder at its utility. There is no proof given that anyone holds to the type of theistic mutualism defined by Tipton, or that even if they are, their thoughts are properly and substantially addressed. All in all, this discussion is not all that helpful, and probably serves more to rally the troops than to have an honest discussion on the matter.

Ryan Mullins' roasting of Craig Carter's "Christian Platonism"

In a guest post on the London Lyceum, Dr. Ryan Mullins has posted a pointed critique of Craig Carter's project of "recovering" "Christian Platonism." I agree especially with sentiments like these:

As it stands, it looks like Christian Platonism is a gerrymandered category. As far as I can tell, Christian Platonism is to be defined as follows.

Christian Platonism: those views that Craig Carter agrees with.

The key point here is not that Dr. Carter is definitely wrong in his ressourcement trajectory. The key point here is the sloppy over-generalization and demonization that lies at the heart of such reckless rhetoric. It is profoundly unserious and serves more to demonize the other than to seek understanding. But then it seems this is the characteristic of a particular group of "confessionalists" these days.

Friday, August 05, 2022

London Lyceum Roundtable on Trinity and Simplicity

The London Lyceum has recently done an interesting rountable on the topic of trinity and simplicity. You can hear it here:

Thursday, July 14, 2022

Book Review: God with Us by K. Scott Oliphant

The 2011/2012 book by K. Scott Oliphant entitled God with Us: Divine Condescension and the Attributes of God had been withdrawn from publication, as part of the agreement made with Oliphant that resulted in his acquital before a court of the OPC. The background to this was the 2016 Trinity controversy signaling a resurgence in classical theism, and it is due to this that Dr. Oliphant was hauled up in 2019 on charges of heresy based on things he had written in this book. Being a dissenter from classical theism, I was interested to read this book, and thankfully a friend managed to get a copy for me.

So what does a Reformed theologians with Palamite influences think of the book? Well, here is my review of Oliphant's book. An excerpt:

The book is written as an exploration in the doctrine of God from a biblical theological and systematic perspective. Split into an introduction and five chapters, Oliphant attempted to formulate a theology of God that takes into account motifs of incarnation and accommodation, linking his doctrine of God and his doctrine of Christ. A key point of Oliphant’s view formulated here is using Christology to guide Theology Proper (the headings in one of his chapters), in which his unique spin on the doctrine of God is being presented.

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Friday, July 08, 2022

The relation between the divine persons and the divine nature

God is God, supreme, creator, incomprehensible, beyond anything that anyone can ever think or imagine, beyond reality and unreality. To think of God is to think of the One who transcends all things, and to which we owe our lives. God is not an object for us to dissect and examine, but someone who stands over us. He dissects us, not the other way around. As such, in thinking about divine things, we ought to tremble in reverence and fear, noting that anything we can perceive if true is only known to us because God has made the knowledge of Himself available to us. We can know nothing of God except what is revealed, for God is utterly beyond us. Just like a 3-dimensional being is incomprehensible to a 2-dimensional being, so the God who transcends infinite dimensions is beyond our comprehension based upon natural knowledge. Only the revelation of God, coming from the transcendent being, can tell us anything about Him.

The Trinity is a concept at the limits of human understanding, for it reveals a God who is both one and three, and neither is in contradiction nor is one holding primacy over the other. The Trinity come about as a synthesis of basic biblical truths that would result in a contradiction if held without qualification. Thus, we hold that there is one God, the Father is God, the Son is God, and the Spirit is God, yet neither person is the other (the Father is not the Son, the Son not the Spirit, the Spirit not the Father or the Son). Without qualification, these premises would be logically contradictory. Yet the Bible teaches all these to be true, thus the only way open to us is to qualify the "three-ness" and the "one-ness," thus we arrive at the formula that God is one essence and three persons. The term "essence" and "persons" are, on the one hand, partly placeholders in order to distinguish the divine oneness and threeness, and partly chosen because the concepts behind them approximate how the oneness and threeness operate in God. God is one in that there is one God, thus He has one essence. God is three because the three persons operate just like how three persons operate, with distinguishable voices and acts.

Recently, some internet Thomists have confidently rammed their doctrine of God into some questionable places. At issue is the doctrine of simplicity and inseparable operations. The intoxication of "retrieving classical theism" has resulted in reckless theologizing with little to no thought as to the problems they would face. The doctrine of God, being about God, is not easy. After all, it is about GOD. Whatever one thinks of classical theism or Thomas Aquinas, surely one ought to more careful about the things of God, and the internet Thomists are most certainly not helping matters for anyone.

If God is simple, then certainly there is a sense in which the divine essence can be said to be the divine persons. Specifically, God the divine essence IS God the divine persons. All are one in the essence of God. However, there is a problem when one carelessly states that the divine essence is the divine persons, and the problem can be found in a certain relation between the two, that can be perceived in the photo at the start.

One can see in the photo a different portrayal of the Trinity from that which is portrayed for teaching believers. Whereas other digrams have the persons in a triangle, mine is in the shape of an oval. Perhaps one day I will go through all the symbolisms in my version, but for now I want us to take note of the right side of the diagram, of the line from the Holy Spirit (Spiritus Sanctus) to God (θεος; Deus). Note that the word "is" (est) is upside down. I made it upside down because I intend the sentence to be from the right to the left. Therefore, the three sentences (translating the middle to Latin as well) are:

  1. Pater est Deus
  2. Filius est Deus
  3. Spiritus Sanctus est Deus

The upside down nature of "est" also implies the following:

  1. Deus Pater non est
  2. Deus Filius non est
  3. Deus Spiritus Sanctus non est

Or, in English, God is not the Father, God is not the Son, and God is not the Holy Spirit.

All this seems counter-intuitive. If the Father is God, why is God not the Father? Indeed, the copula "is" normally functions symmetrically. But note that for the purpose of the Trinity, we can say that the Father is God, but we cannot say that God is the Father. The reason is simple: God is necessarily triune. That means that God is Father, Son and Spirit. God cannot be the Father without the Son or the Spirit. And since the persons are not three parts of one God but each person is fully God, the Father is God fully, yet the converse is not true - God is not the Father fully.

It is this thorny relation betweeen the one essence and the three persons, on top of a denial that the persons are parts of the one essence, that result in this weird asymmetrical identity relation. The basic foundation of Trinitarian dogma confess this asymmetry while recognizing that this creates a major tension in any theological system. This is why even though it "logically" makes sense for a belief in simplicity and inseparable operations to lead to an absolute identity between the divine essence and the divine persons, still we cannot go there. If the divine essence is the divine persons, then we run into this asymmetry and run foul of saying God is the Father, God is the Son, and God is the Holy Spirit. From there, it is a smaller leap to then move into full-blown modalism in equating the Father to the Son to the Holy Spirit.

There are many problems with the internet Thomist. The major problem right now is their reckless play in the theology sandbox. They are not cautious, they think they know it all, and they run headlong into nonsense that even Thomas Aquinas would not say. Perhaps some caution is in order, and they need to realize that the doctrine of God is one fraught with many pitfalls, and embracing Classical Theism or what one thinks is Classical Theism does not make them supermen neither does it immunize any of them from heresy or false teaching.

Monday, July 04, 2022

The issue of divine relations and the issue of being

Rather, the issue is whether the Son is also the ontological source of the Holy Spirit, along with the Father. [Marc A. Pugliese, "How Important is the Filique for Reformed Orthodoxy," WTJ 66 (2004): 159]

In the one being of God, the three persons subsists, in an eternal and unique relationship. If the three persons are all God, then obviously it would be troubling to state that the relation is ontological. This was one reason why John Calvin hold to Christ being autotheos or "God in Himself." That is precisely why one needs to be careful when talking about the relations between the persons of the one God. In Eastern Orthodoxy, the monarchy of the Father states that the Father is the source of the persons of the Son and the Spirit, not the one divine essence. The divine being can be said to be "transmitted" from the Father to the Son and the Spirit only in the sence of an eternal perichoresis, with the understanding that there was never a logical moment that the Son and Spirit have not the one divine being. The monarchy of the Father, in its orthodox sense, does not separate the one divine essence or make the divine essence properly belonging to one person who must then transmit the being to the other persons in order for them to be. The divine relations must therefore just be a matter of stating emphasis or priority or order (taxis).

It is therefore not helpful when words like "ontology" or "essence" or "being" keeps on being thrown around casually. Or even the newfound fascination with the word "thing." We need to be careful about the words we use, unless we want to slide into either modalism, subordinationism or tritheism. Ontology or essence belongs to ontology, and the ontology of God is His "what-ness." We need to limit the use of ontology to only ontology instead of trying to make everything about ontology. The "what-ness" question merely circumscribes the issue of divine relations, which must be limited to the issue of either emphasis, priority and/or order, unless one makes nonsense of the biblical truths that God is both one essence, and three persons. If one make the divine relations ontological, then one either separates the relations (tritheism), makes the relations one of no real distinction (modalism), or makes the relations one of substantial dependence (subordinationism).

The divine relations are linked to the essence in the sense that they state how the persons can be three in the one essence. Therefore, by making the category of "persons" separate from ontology, one is free to show the "three-neess" of God in the divine persons, while using the divine relations to link the persons to the category of essence. That it seems to me is the correct way to go, as opposed to the internet New Thomists who are busy collapsing their doctrine of God into modalism.

Thursday, June 23, 2022

Ontology and science

On the classical Aristotelian metaphysics inherited by the medieval scholastics, every primary substance ... has a secondary substance-kind ... that pertains to it and without which it could not exist. ... (Thomas H. McCall, An Invitation to Analytic Christian Theology, 104)

Metaphysics is the branch of philosophy that seeks to deal with the nature of reality. Part of that is the nature of all reality, thus they deal with questions involving whether reality is actually real in a material sense or not. That level of metaphysics goes beyond scientific examination because it deals with the ultimate reality of things beyond that of science. However, there is another level of metaphysics which in the modern world has mostly gone obsolete, that of Aristotelian substances and accidents, where that level of metaphysics seek to discover the nature of things as they are present in real life. In the modern world, science in the fields of physics, chemistry, and biology have supplanted this level of metaphysics, and have provided answers to these questions that are far more practical and much better approximations to the truth. Nevertheless, a new level of interest in Aristotelianism has arisen recently. Perhaps such is due to the failure of modern philosophy to provide a unitary vision of the truth. Perhaps it is due to an interest in virtue ethics of which Aristotle has much to contribute. Or perhaps it is due to influence from certain fields of theology where Aristotelianism has laid dormant and are now uncritically accepted due to a unbiblical view of what theological retreival should mean for a Reformed Christian. Needless to say, this resurrection of Aristotelian metaphysics is deeply troubling. Part of that of course is that the notion of Aristotelian substance and accidents are just plain wrong; science has shown that to be the case. The same people who are resurrecting Aristotle, either Aristotle himself or Aristotle as mediated through Aquinas, are the same people who are benefitting from the applications of modern science, science that would not be possible if scientists stuck with Aristotelian metaphysics!

Reality can be described and explained in many ways. There is therefore nothing wrong with using Aristotelian categories if one understands them to be mere descriptions. However, the claim that these are true of reality is an ontic claim, and that is a problem because such claims are demonstrably false. For example, a dog as substance would possess the "substance-kind" dogness or caninity. But there is no such ontological thing as "dogness." A dog is an emergent substance formed by the expression of instructions found in the canine DNA of dog cells. "Dogness" is at best information encoded by DNA. That information in turn does not produce an ontological substance called "dog" but rather a bunch of phenotypes that we collectively called "dog." Platonism with its view of forms is more amenable to modern science here, since dog phenotypes can be called its "form." Even then, there is no "dog substance" that is combined with a "dog form," since the substance of DNA, proteins, and carbohydrates are common to all animals.

The substance of living things are the molecules that form the thing, or the particular permutation of molecules in various cellular structures. The substance of all living things are therefore the same, since all living things have DNA, proteins, carbohydrates and so on. There is no "dog substance," no "human substance" and so on. Dog cells and human cells, the fundamental living unit of dogs and humans respectively, are emergent substances that form as the "form" from the instructions on the DNA imprints unto the cells to form these different dog and human cells. Dogs are made of dog cells, tertiary substances that can only emerge from the imprint of dog DNA information unto them. There is no primary substance called "dog"‐ never has been and never will be.

With the resurrection of Aristotle, we can expect to see bad philosophy, bad science and bad theology. In philosophy, one can obviously find alternatives to Aristotelianism. That cannot be said to be true of much of classical Christian theology, which needs a good round of de-Aristotelianism to bring it out of captivity to this false philosophy.

Tuesday, June 14, 2022

A really bad argument about God and Simplicity

Because God is simple, nothing can give definiability to Him from the outside. So the Persons cannot be defined purely by their ad extra works in the economy of redemption. All we can know about Him He has to reveal or else it would be left in the infinite darkness of mystery. So all of our understanding about God must be qualified, since creation cannot give definability to God. If we conceive of God only in ad extra categories, then we are making God dependent and defined by the creation He made. [Peter Sammons, "When Distinction becomes Separation: The Doctrine of Inseparable Operations in the Contemporary Evangelical Church," TMSJ 33/1 (Spring 2022): 91]

There is the doctrine of inseparable operations (ISO), the doctrine of divine simplicity (DDS), and then there are the many arguments theologians put forward for such doctrines. Obviously, not all arguments are created equal. But there are good arguments, and there are not so good arguments. And then there are the really horrible ones. For some reason however, really bad arguments have been recently flowing off the pens of the new Thomists, and here we have one really bad one.

In this argument in his article, Peter Sammons argued that God is simple means that nothing outside God can be considered definitional of Him. Sammons is not saying that we cannot predicate things of God ad extra, but rather that we cannot say that something ad extra is considered "definitional" of God. For if that were to be the case, then God would be dependent on creation. Of course, what does "definitional" means in this case is a major question. But let us backtrack a bit and ask ourselves whether DDS actually says anything of that sort, not whether Thomas Aquinas has said anything of that sort. We must remember that Sammons is asserting that DDS implies certain things to be true, not whether he believes other things in addition to DDS.

DDS states that God is without parts, without metaphysical parts. God is not a composite being and therefore He is his attributes. Therefore, one implication of DDS is that one cannot "add parts" to God, for that would make Him composite. DDS however states nothing about reception and perception from the outside and what that implies about descriptions of God. Even apart from a Platonic hierarchy of being, it is a triusm that the many cannot comprehend the one, and from a theistic perspective, one only approaches God analogically not univocally. Therefore, DDS canot imply aything about reception by the creature, who perceives and defines God through His works. Therefore, DDS as a via negativa position cannot exclude via eminantiae positions perceived through the works of God. Are such "definitional"? For example, can we claim that God is merciful in His being even though such being merciful is an ad extra predication, for God cannot be merciful on Himself? It woud seem so. Thus, DDS in itself therefore cannot exclude "definiability" from the outside, unlike what Sammons has argued.

In order for his argument to make sense, Sammons has to add in additional premises besides DDS. One possible premise for his argument to work is to state that true predication is not necessarily "definiability," such that a merciful God is not defined by "mercy" even though He IS merciful, but this will give rise to the strange spector of a God who has via eminantiae attributes that do not however define Him. Another possible premise along the same lines is to state that predication is considered "definiability" only if extended into eternity, but that also circumvents all discussions about the nature of time and eternity altogether. Or one could hold to some form of eternalism and therefore anything revaled ad extra that is "defintional" is true ad intra because God is present with creation in all times. Sammons of course did not provide any such additional premise, which is why his argument from simplicity is simply bad.

Saturday, June 11, 2022

Paper: The Impassibility of God and God's Covenant Love

Many years ago, I had sought the ministry while I was in the United States. I had joined the OPC and had applied for licensure in my presbtery. There are a couple of exams one has to pass, then one has to submit one exegetical paper and one theological paper. After all these have been completed and approved by the committee, one has to go before the presbytery, preach a sermon, then come before the presbytery for an oral examination. After the presbyters are satisfied with the answers to their questions, they would vote on whether to sustain the licensure. If the vote passes, the candidate is now licensed to preach the Gospel.

In 2014 to 2015, I had gone through the procedure. As one of the two papers have to be original, I wrote an original theological paper and completed it in 2014. In the providence of God, I chose to write on what was at that time considered non-controversial and relatively straight-forward - the impassibility of God. The papar was unanimously approved and my licensure sustained with no dissenting vote. Did I change my view since then, or did something else change? Well, I decided to read through the paper again in 2022, and I agreed with all of it, save that now I embrace the concept of "energies" whereas before I was agnostic of its utility (which is not the same as rejecting it).

Until now, this paper has only been seen by the presbyters of the Presbytery of Southern California of the OPC. It is now available for all to read now on my website here, and on Academia.edu here. Entitled The Impassibility of God and God's Covenant Love, this paper marks the starting point of my current stance on the doctrine of God as it pertains to issues of contemporary interests. An excerpt:

The doctrine of the impassibility of God (i.e. that God has “no passions”) has fallen on hard times. While it was the majority position of the early, medieval and Reformation era church, it has since in the modern era come under attack. This assault upon impassibility increased greatly with Jürgen Moltmann’s book The Crucified God, which utilized insights from Japanese theologian Kazoh Kitamori to put forward a “post-Auschwitz” idea of a God who suffers with us.

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Friday, June 10, 2022

An early piece on divine impassibility

I have decided to release my paper on impassiblity that I had written back in 2014 soon, one which had not previously seen the light of day. But before I do that, here is a much earlier article written before 2010 where I had affirmed the same. As you will see, there has been no real change in my position on the topic from then until now. However, there is a maturity of thought and development of theological concepts until this time.

My new website and the second response to Derrick Brite

I have just recently moved to a new web address at http://puritanreformed.net, with about 60%- 70% of the content making the move from my previous website. Anyway, one of the new content is the consolidation of my second response to Derrick Brite on the issue of EFS, which can now be seen in one document here.

Friday, May 27, 2022

James White on Hermeneutics

Here is a good primer on the basics of hermeneutics and biblical exegesis by Dr James White.

Wednesday, May 18, 2022

The Eastern and the Western views on the Trinity?

In the classical Latin Trinitarian doctrine, “Father, Son and Spirit are only ‘relatively’ distinct.” Whatever the interpretation given to the idea of “relation” implies in this statement, it is clear that Western thought recognized the ontological primacy of essential unity over personal diversity inn God; that is, that God is essentially one, except in the divine Persons, who are defined in terms of relations. In Byzantine thought, however—to use an expression from Maximus the Confessor—“God is identically monad and triad,” and there is probably a tendency in both worship and philosophical formulations (as distinct from doctrinal statements) to give a certain pre-eminence to the personal diversity over essential unity. A reference to the Nicaean “consubstantial” was the Byzantine response to the accusation of “tritheism.” (John Meyendorff, Byzantine Theology, 184)

In light of the 2016 controversy over the Trinity, and the subsequent rise of Neo-Thomism in conservative Evangelicalism, does any of these look familiar?

Tuesday, May 17, 2022

Meyendorff on Nicaea and the issue of subordination

It is common in the Neo-Thomist revival to assert that subordination of any kind is contrary to Nicene orthodoxy. Now, whether that is so can be discussed. It is however, interesting to read what an Eastern Orthodox theologian has said about the matter.

By accepting Nicaea, the Cappadocian Fathers eliminated the ontological subordinationism of Origen and Arius, but they preserved indeed, together with their understanding of hypostatic life, a Biblical and Orthodox subordinationism, maintaining the personal identity of the Father as the ultimate origin of all divine being and action: … (John Meyendorff, Byzantine Theology, 183)

Now, that is interesting and food for thought.