The Neo-Chalcedonian, Cosmotheandric Turn
The hypostatic union of Px = an eternal protological, incarnatonal reality = an eschatological blueprint
re how uncreated & created hypostases proportonally participate, each per their particular ranges of tropoi, in the very same uncreated logoi (incl all creaturely teloi).
My late friend Jim Arraj a Maritain scholar in conversatons w/Norris Clarke deciphered the Thomist conception of forms (as distinct from Aristotles’s) in terms of a participation in limitation motif tracing it in part to Plotinus & neo-Platonic sources.
A formal cause exists in a much more dynamic way in St. Thomas than it could in Aristotle. Arraj would go on to reconceive same in terms of deep & dynamic formal fields (like Joseph Bracken’s neo-
Whiteheadian use of field as a root metaphor).
Bracken’s field conception of the Divine Matrix b/c of its affinity to Classical Theism & Trinitarian doctrine seems a fruitful way to imagine how Maximian logoi interplay among uncreated & created hypostatic tropoi as interpenetrating fields humanize &/or divinize them.
A mutual interpenetration of deep & dynamic formal fields an account for an exnihilating dynamic that creates novel creaturely teloi.
Such a creatio ex amore ex nihilo would be consistent even w/any incipiently telic fields of eternal prevenient chaos (Griffin) or of a tehomic profundis (Keller).
As divine hypostatic realities, the logoi of all finite, determinate creaturely becoming proceed from the infinite, nondeterminate Logos-Spirit hypostases-exemplifications,
pneumato-christologically in the gratuity of creation,
christo-pneumatologically in the gratuity of grace,
incarnationally in both, per the divine esse naturale.
The logoi (hows) carry the divine esse intentionale (will & intentions), both freely affecting creatures & freely affected (per energeia) by the aesthetic scope of all telic creaturely becoming, although divine realities are never affected in aesthetic intensity.
The divine esse naturale-intentionale is thus affected by more than mere Cambridge properties, but without any change in intrinsic perfection. Does this weaken DDS? Yes. Trivially, so.
As it is, since we neither reify the essence (natures aren’t “existing things,” whether divine or created) nor hypostasize energeia, why ontologize the intentionale, inquiring about its mode of being, determinatively –what, rather than of identity, denominatively –how?
Finite creatures proportionally participate (through a univocity of loving determinate effects or synergy) in the Logos-logoi identity, which, itself, grounds the differences of in/finite natures (through an analogia entis).
This in/finite disjunction doesn’t quantitatively differentiate Being & beings through a multiplication of quiddities (determinative nouns, genera, species, i.e. whats) by infinity. Instead, it multiplies qualia (denominative modifiers & participles, hows, etc.) by infinity, recognizing the qualitative differentiation of divine & determinate hypostases, i.e. via propria-idiomata-relata vs essentially-existentially-relationally.
Such a differentiation, then, entails no alienation from some Wholly Other, but, instead, fosters otherness & intimacy,
participation via donativity-receptivity, & immanence in transcendence, all theotically.
Cosmotheandric participation entails more than the mere growth in resemblances of vestigia & imagoes Dei into similitudines Dei, from image to likeness.
Generally, participation further requires a participant to freely choose to (in various ways to various extents) “take possession” of WHAT the participated, as a whole, “IS.”
Specifically, regarding God as Actus Purus, as participants, we, the Many, must freely choose, therefore, to “take possession” of HOW the Participated One, as the Whole, “DOES.”
If we don’t go beyond an analogy of being, ontologically & determinatively, to a univocity of doing, semantically & denominatively, we can’t bust the Maximian move, theologically or anthropologically or cosmogonically, in an authentically Neo-Chalcedonian fashion.
Cosmotheandric participation entails more than the mere growth in resemblances of vestigia & imagoes Dei into similitudines Dei, from image to likeness. It entails each participant’s progressive realization of facility in freely choosing to kenotically participate … in how the ur-kenotic Participated One Acts, which is, naturally, Purely Loving.
There can be no Shakespearean soliloquy: “To Be or Not to Be,” for that remains decidedly decided for every intrinsically valuable imago Dei, ensuing from its essential nature. Rather, the transcendental imperatives in-form-ing our existential orientations include both “To Be Like God or not?” and “To Do How God Does or Not?”.
All of this is articulated in Lonergan’s imperatives, the Degrees of Humility of Ignatius, & Therese’s Little Way.
A proper interpretation of the Capps Bros, Cyril, Maximus & Severus, et al, helped along by idioms like those of Scotus, Palamas & Peirce, et al, might say it the best?
So, finally, re the Logos-logoi identity, while it’s “just” a semantic predication, the reference remains eminently realist. Still, in the same way we eschew any overapplications of an analogia entis, we’d desist, here, from any over-specifications of peircean generals, whether created or uncreated, nomicities or probabilities, etc b/c, for DBHartians, if there’s anything more frightening than an unwitting infernalism, that would be – not a spinozan modal collapse, but – an accidental baroque thomism via a báñezian praemotiophysica! (just kidding)
This universalist vision is systematically argued in the monograph below:
A note regarding Personalism:
The personalist approach with which I most resonate can be found in what’s been called cosmotheandrism.
While I find the “cosmo-theo” part of Raimon Panikkar’s cosmotheandrism very
inspirational, for the “theandric” part, there’s a very old Eastern Orthodox account that, in my view, can hardly be improved upon, i.e. Maximian Logos &
These would both seem consistent with DBH’s intuitions as were articulated during his back & forth with Ed Feser re animals in heaven.
On page 172 of An Emerging Cosmotheandric Religion?: Raimon Panikkar’s Pluralistic Theology Of Religions, Brill, 2005, Jyri Komulainene discusses the “personalism” in Panikkar’s “ecosophy.”
I’ll paraphrase & summarize the highlights here.
Per Komulainene, while Panikkar’s personalist idiom does convey his intent to avoid a “sheer monism,” he also approaches all of being in terms of communicatio, communio & communality.
The Divine donates via “pure communication.”
All creatures thus engage dialogically. While, per Panikkar, human persons do communicate per a particular interiority & consciousness, we best dialogue (dia-logos, thru the logos) with all of reality without losing sight of its “thou
dimension” or else we’ll “excommunicate” ourselves from nature, God & each other, i.e. cosmotheandrically.
The old EO approach with which I most resonate is Dionysius’ account of “theandric activity” as spoken of by Severus and as interpreted by Maximus
per a Cyrillian Christology.
At the link below, Rebekah Earnshaw summarizes a theology seminar presentation by Dr Brandon Gallaher entitled “The Word, the Words and the
Trinity: A Preliminary Exploration of the Relationship of Eastern Orthodoxy to
World Religions.” It touches on both Panikkar & Maximus.
A Note on Terminology
Understanding the historical account & development of the terminology employed in Trinitology & Christology remains crucial for tge proper interpretation of Severus.
I find the concept of the immanent universal [IU] to be very interesting, e.g. C. Kappes has a take re IU of Damacene & Nazianzen; Zachhuber & Cross differ on IU of Nyssan; IU of Scotus.
We might ask why that distinction between the divine IU, as a primary substance, & the universals of determinate beings, as secondary substances, did not leave questions begging for many re, e.g. how “consubstantial” must refer differently in the hypostatic union to the divine vs human natures?
If one allows Severus to define his own terms & properly reads him as a thoroughgoing Cyrillian, then he goes beyond not w/o Chalcedon. Christ remains consubstantial, divinely & humanly, respectively, via immanent & shared universals.
Cyril, ergo Severus, applied the Cappadocian trintological distinction, ousia vs hypostasis, to Christology.
Christ’s divine ousia = immanent universal (an extreme realism) & created ousia = shared universal (a moderate realism). For Cyril & Severus, one nature referred to – not ousia, but – hypostasis.
A Note on my reconceptions of Logoi, Tropoi & Teloi
Operating inseparably but distinctly
uncreated logoi: what, essential nature, act of existence, imago Dei, wholly determinate
un/created tropoi: how, actual secondary nature, virtues & vices, freedom/liberty, habits halfway between act & potency, variously in/determinate & self-determinate
created teloi: why, potential secondary nature, formal act & final potencies, intimacization, authenticity, variously in/determinate & self-determinate
A Note on Grace as Transmuted Experience in my Retreblement
“God not only gives things their form, but He also preserves them in existence, and applies them to act, and is moreover the end of every action.” (ST 1.105.5 ad 3)
Does determinism follow from immediate causality, whether divine or created?
Below is my paraphrased summary of William A. Frank’s “Duns Scotus on Autonomous Freedom & Divine Co-Causality,” Medieval Philosophy & Theology, Volume 2, 1992, Pages 142-164
Determinism doesn’t follow from immediate causality, whether divine or created.
Concurrent co-causes are necessary but not sufficient to bring about a given effect.
Concurrent co-causes can be
a) accidentally ordered, as in the case of needing two mules to pull a wagon, or
b) essentially ordered, as in needing a male & female to produce offspring.
When essentially ordered, even if one co-cause gives more toward an effect than another, the lesser cause can still be the total immediate cause of an effect, e.g. creatio continua vs creaturely volitional acts.
Scotus further distinguishes essentially ordered partial co-causes as
1) participative, requiring a sharing of power, &
2) autonomous, requiring inter-dependent cooperation thru coordinated, complementary lines of efficient causality e.g. how the will & intellect co-cause volition, how divine & created wills co-cause created volitions.
God’s immediate, efficient causality (uncreated) suffices for God’s knowledge in an extensional sense, as knowledge of His own act suffices for knowledge of the effect.
Here, one might remain content to establish the fact of God’s role as a partial co-cause without delving into the mysteries of God’s inner life.
Others aspire to travel further, explanatorily, with Suarez & Molina (middle knowledge), Baήez (premotion) or Scotus (attendant decision).
The account above squares with how an Aristotelian God creates, conserves & knows.
Beyond that, though, what manner of divine “dialogue” (dia-logos) with the world would implicate a more providential relation between God & creatures, beyond a divine general or universal concurrence,
1) accounting for more of a theandric, even cosmotheandric, intimacy? via
2) a more personalist conception of divine & creaturely inter-relationality? or
3) a more robust account of participation in uncreated divine energeia, logoi & tropoi by creaturely teloi?
Speculating further, the accounts of Thomistic physical premotion, Jesuit middle knowledge & Scotistic attendant decision aspire to explain more than just how it is that God creates, conserves & knows, as they even explore beyond how it is the divine influences creatures via uncreated logoi & tropoi & created teloi. That’s to say they go beyond the divine-created concurrent, co-causal account, as elaborated above, to propose yet other distinct aspects of divine immediate causation.
For example, divine premotion would act “within” secondary causes, reducing material potencies to efficient acts, elevating instrumental causes to produce agapic (self-transcendent, loving, theotic, etc) effects proper to no known causes, so due to actual grace. God would thus act, however, without violating an agent’s causal integrity, still allowing those operations to be contingent & free, for God created not only necessary but contingent realities, including personal freedom. God moves (applies to act) necessary causes to cause necessarily & contingent causes to cause contingently according to their created natures. So, even if every reduction of material potencies to efficient causes should properly be interpreted as divinely caused & determined, that wouldn’t entail divine necessitation, except in the case of miracles.
Still, must a divine reduction of material potencies to efficient causes necessarily be interpreted as a bridging of physical causes & effects such that, if God wasn’t as such always determining, He’d otherwise have to be considered always determined?
I don’t see why that must necessarily be so. There’s nothing, in principle, to suggest that, to whatever extent that God might ever be variously determined by creatures, His intrinsic perfection would necessarily thereby be diminished (due to some divine impoverishment). Rather, such a divine affectivity might simply reflect a divine condescension (via a weakened DDS) that reflects divine changes in – neither aesthetic intensity nor intrinsic perfection, but – only aesthetic scope & kenotic relationality.
Furthermore, the will, itself, should be located, at least in part, in efficient causation. Scotus would have us recognize a form of volition that determines whether one exercises one’s will (or refrains therefrom). It’s the volitional question that asks why the will wills at all, because it does remain free not to act, notwithstanding all logoi, tropoi & physical premotions.
If we relocate grace to an uncreated formal cause (like E. Stump), it could still be effected through the uncreated physical premotion of efficient causes that will have brought about circumstances that, after creaturely semiotic interpretation, will necessitate certain dispositions of a given person’s will, inviting (even urging but not compelling) it to participate in a divine effecting of various agapic & theotic realizations .
I develop my semiotic approach to grace as transmuted experience, inspired by (but not developed from) James Dominic Rooney’s Stumping Freedom: Divine Causality and the Will, New Blackfriars (Volume 96, Issue 1066, November 2015, Pages 711–722)
Note: Situating Zizioulas Systematically in Tillich per My Retreblement
I don’t interpret Zizioulas’ existentialist & personalist approaches as developed out of classical existentialisms & personalisms, which are individualistic philosophies, b/c Z’s personalist conception is intrinsically relational, as difference in communion.
We’d need to distinguish aspects of Z’s philosophical anthropology, which might be implicit & inchoate, from those of his theological anthropology.
ISTM doubtful that the former could do anything other than to establish the reality of a person, that the “meaning” of a person must be imported from one’s worldview. There’s no doubt where Z’s concept of person gets its meaning & that freedom in the context of communion necessarily plays a constitutive role in person for him (think MOF).
One might also appropriate everything that’s useful in Tillich (e.g. Biblical personalism, pneumatology par excellence, ground of being), while correcting his insufficiencies (e.g. Christology) in order to bolster Z’s personalist hermeneutic. While Z pursued a similar project to Tillich, substituting neo-Patristic for Biblical sources, his patristic interpretations have been harshly criticized.
I don’t interpret Z’s thrust as anti-essential but as non-essential, so, retrieving Scotistic substance-talk into his hermeneutic needn’t explode it, but could, instead, better equip it to block unacceptable trinitological inferences. Also, Scotus’ eschewal of secondary substance-talk, trinitologically, would give Z an ontological idiom a tad more compatible with his preferred vocabulary vis a vis ousia, substance, hypostasis, person, etc
So, to best advance a systematic project sympathetic to Zizioulas’ concerns, I’d retrieve Tillich’s Christian existentialism & Biblical personalism, with the added bonus being that their dialectical character is very reminiscent of Panikkar’s cosmo-the-andrism. And I’d retrieve a Scotistic ontology (at least to articulate trinitological grammatical contours).
Finally, consistent with my triadic, axiological epistemology, as developed from Neville’s Peircean systematics, I’d turn to Peirce, Neville & Tillich for their conceptions regarding impersonal accounts of the Ground of Being to systematically situate Zizioulas’ causal-relational personalist interpretation of MOF.
Because Z asserts that the personal existence of the Father constitutes his own existence, the F thus causes not only the Trinitarian unity but the divine ousia, so, not only imparts His being but causes it, characteristics like divinity derived from, because identical to, His personhood.
In my own approach, I have not adopted but have adapted conceptions of the One & the many from Peirce, Tillich & Neville, often referred to with impersonal terms like Ens Necessarium and Ground of Being.
I employ distinct categories like nondeterminate emptiness (analogous to ground of Tillich & Neville, Ens Necessarium of Peirce), nondeterminate nothingness (real but not existing) and indeterminate being (existing).
There’s a certain paradoxical feel to juxtaposing Zizioulas’ MOF personalist approach with such impersonalist conceptions as Tillich’s Ground of Being, Infinite Abyss & Being-Itself?
But, following the Tillichian dialectical methodology, orienting our existential orientations to ultimate concerns, coloring our anthropology theologically, we can theologically gift meaning to what are otherwise bare philosophical conceptions. For me, & why not for Zizioulas, why couldn’t “freely relating” constitute the Ground of Being, Who is the Freely Willing Loving One God, the Father?
Note on Situating Zizioulas Systematically in Bracken in my Retreblement
Pannenberg moved away from just a “relations of origin” MOF interpretation to include a “diversity of relations” dimension, e.g. handing over of Lordship. Even then, some conception of the Father as “unoriginate originator” remains intact, istm.
B/c there’s so much affinity between Pannenberg’s & Joseph Bracken’s metaphysical approaches, appropriating such a modified MOF element in a Bracken-like approach seems a fruitful path forward.
The reason I adapted rather than adopted the Ground of Being conceptions of Tillich & Neville is that it’s important for my systematic consistency to remain faithful to Peirce, e.g. Ens Necessarium abduction.
Toward that end, the last element in my situating of Zizioulas, systematically, involves going beyond, but not without, Scotus, in a more robustly Peircean direction that’s also explicitly Trinitarian.
That is why I turn to the metaphysic of Joseph Bracken, a Peirce scholar and neo-Whiteheadian. What makes Bracken further amenable to this project is his faithful retrieval of Classical Theism and his conscious Peircean avoidance of nominalistic tendencies, such as in Whitehead’s process approach, or, to some extent, adumbrations in Hartshorne’s neo-Classical theism.
My favorite Bracken book remains God: Three Who Are One, 2008, Liturgical Press.
I also commend 1) The Divine Matrix: Creativity as Link between East and West, 1995, Orbis Books; 2) The One in the Many: A Contemporary Reconstruction of the God-World Relationship, 2001, Eerdmans; and 3) Does God Roll Dice? Divine Providence for a World in the Making, 2012, Liturgical Press.
For a great overview that shows how these approaches can fruitfully be placed in dialogue, see the dissertation of Dong-Sik Park: The God-World Relationship Between Joseph Bracken, Philip Clayton, & Open Theism.
Notes re Predications of Ousia, Hypostatic Idiomata & Energeia in my Retreblement
There are different theories of idiomata. And different idioms for substance talk. As long as one is consistent, such different types of God-talk needn’t separate us.
Do they merely secure the reference of proper names?
Do they just identify things, epistemologically, or describe their properties, constitutively, defining them essentially? or both?
When idiomata individuate numerically distinct hypostases, do they refer to properties that are:
1) simple, non-shareable & non-coinstantiable; or
2) shareable in-principle but a uniquely combined bundle of idiomata?
How might we distinguish between metaphysically individuating idiomata & epistemic gnorismata, which epistemolsecure references through names?
How might we best distinguish between the semantic “signification” of the common nouns & natures of the ousia & semantic “indications” of the proper nouns & peculiar qualities of hypostases?
Does “God” predicate any subject which shares divine nature?
Does “God” signify the divine ousia in particular, as a kind or nature?
Does “God” signify certain types of energeia or activities?
Is the word “God” a substance-sortal at all, a special predicate expressing the divine nature itself? Is the word “God” just another predicate among predicates, attribute among attributes?
Are natures or ousiai otherwise individuated by energeiai?
Whether the word “God” signifies the divine nature or not (per Cross, yes; per Branson, no),
if one employs an idiom wherein the ousia’s a secondary substance, the word “God” most certainly can be predicated of all the hypostases; and
if one eschews substance-talk & denominatively (connotatively) names the Father, “the One God” – not just as an epistemic gnorismata securing one’s reference via signification, but determinatively (denotatively) – as a metaphysically individuating idioma that differentiates the Father via some robustly personalistic, causal-relational indication, still, “the One God” as arche & aitia, would ontologically subordinate neither God the Son nor God the Holy Spirit.
This is precisely because, even if the sole arche & aitia entails some type of analogous aseity, whether via such a God-conception as would be signified either thru
1) predication & instantiation; or
2) attribution & exemplification; or
3) a supremely personal causal-relational activity —
such an imparting of divine nature is shared as “God from God” and ergo must be clearly & emphatically distinguished from creation’s reception of “finite determinate being from God,” Who is Being Beyond being.
Historically speaking, I take no position re how the Nyssan best be interpreted re God signifying the ousia (Cross) or not (Branson) and, similarly, no position re the basis of divine unity per the Nazianzen, the ousia (Cross) or the MOF (Beeley).
Normatively, my own approach coheres with the views that “God” does not signify ousia & the MOF does secure divine unity.
So, if Branson & Beeley are correct in their respective interpretations of the Nyssan & Nazianzen, then my position thus coheres with the Capps.
Accordingly, “is God”
predicates – not the divine nature (ousia), but – engagements in a certain type of activity (energeia), not in terms of quiddity or “what,” but in terms of doing or “how.”
Hence “God” refers as is defined not in terms
of the divine nature, but as a doer of a certain kind of energeia. In other words, “God” refers as an agent noun (like butcher or baker or candlestick maker).
Although some approaches are nominalist re both ousia & idiomata, my own is realist re both idiomata & ousia.
Re: how idiomata individuate numerically distinct hypostases, in my approach, they refer to properties that are shareable in-principle but in a uniquely combined bundle of idiomata.
If one’s idiom refers to ousia as a secondary substance, God can thus be predicated of each divine hypostasis, as a property that’s shareable in-principle but within an otherwise uniquely combined bundle of idiomata.
If one’s idiom refers to ousia as a primary substance, i.e. an indivisible immanent universal, the attribute, God, can thus be exemplified by each divine hypostasis, as a property that’s shareable in-principle but within an otherwise uniquely combined bundle of idiomata.
In my approach, wherein ousia’s a primary substance & hypostases are exemplifications, I distinguish between semantic “significations” of the common nouns & natures of the ousia & the semantic “indications” of the proper nouns & peculiar qualities of hypostases. And “God” can signify certain types of energeia or activities. So, the word “God” is not a substance-sortal at all, i.e. not a special predicate expressing the divine nature, itself, but is just another predicate among predicates, attribute among attributes.
Because natures, or ousiai, are individuated by energeiai as shared by all the hypostases, we can infer that they all share the same nature & that “God” can be predicated of each hypostasis even as “God” doesn’t otherwise signify the divine nature per se.
The stances articulated above represent phraseology & paraphrases from Beau Branson’s LPT.