Wednesday, April 15, 2015
God is not an impersonal force... however, God's *energies* are a force permeating and infusing all of creation. Orthodox theology insists on the energies' being uncreated... I like the way Lossky expresses it in Mystical Theology of the Eastern Church: "The energies might be described as that mode of existence of the Trinity which is outside of its inaccesible essence. God thus exists both in His essence and outside of His essence."
Looking at it that way makes it possible, I think, to affirm panentheism in an Orthodox sense. Which is why I was warmly struck by a statement from Metropolitan Kallistos Ware of Dioklia I came across recently: "I cannot accept any worldview that identifies God with the universe, and for that reason I cannot be a pantheist. But I find no difficulty in endorsing panentheism -- that is to say, the position that affirms not 'God is everything and everything is God' but 'God is in everything and everything is in God.' God, in other words, is both immanent and transcendent: present in all things."*
This is what the world today, and especially young people in the world today, need to hear: that there is a real way that we inhere in God and God inheres in us, a real way of realizing intimate communion with God and with each other and with all of creation... since as we co-inhere in God we likewise co-inhere in each other as in one body, as St. Paul says: "Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it." (I Corinthians 12:27) Communion, the knowing that we are intimately connected to others and they to us, and the living of that insofar as each person is able, gives meaning to life. Communion with God, the knowing that we are called to become gods through inhering in God in the energies and sharing those energies to others in love and life, that gives purpose to life.
* In "Through Creation to the Creator," TOWARD AN ECOLOGY OF TRANSFIGURATION: ORTHODOX CHRISTIAN PERSPECTIVES ON ENVIRONMENT, NATURE, AND CREATION, Edited by John Chryssavgis and Bruce V. Foltz