Classical Theists are Committed to the Palamite Distinction Between God’s Essence and Energies

In Robert C. Koons & Jonathan Fuqua (eds.), Classical Theism: New Essays on the Metaphysics of God. Routledge. pp. 318-338 (2023)
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Abstract

A distinction attributed to Gregory Palamas involves claiming that God’s essence and energies/activities are distinct, yet equally ‘uncreated.’ Traditionally, this Palamite distinction was attacked by some Latin theologians as compromising divine simplicity. A classical view holds that no properties really inhere in God, because God enters into no composition of any kind, including composition of substance and accident. God’s energies/activities seem like properties inhering in God or otherwise composing some kind of part of God. I will argue that, contrary to appearances, the Palamite distinction is a consequence of commitment to a classical view of divine simplicity.

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James Dominic Rooney
Hong Kong Baptist University

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