All in Church Fathers
The theology of St Gregory Palamas, as expressed during the Palamite Controversy of the mid-14th century, is far too extensive to be addressed in its full breadth in a paper such as this. Rather than attempt a manifestly impossible task, then, we will limit the focus of this essay to three central points in that theology: first, the idea of knowledge as expressed in the conflict between Gregory and Barlaam; second, the matter of prayer and the body; and third, the notion of the divine vision, which will lead naturally into a discussion of the energies and the essence of God.
‘You shall not make an image of anything in the heavens above, or in the earth below, or in the sea’ (cf. Exodus 20.4), in such a way that you worship these things and glorify them as gods. For all are the creations of the one God, created by Him in the Holy Spirit through His Son and Logos, who as Logos of God in these latter times took flesh from a virgin’s womb, appeared on earth and associated with men, and who for the salvation of men suffered, died and rose again, ascended with His body into the heavens, and ‘sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on High’ (Hebrews 1.3), and who will come again with His body to judge the living and the dead. Out of love for Him you should make, therefore, an icon of Him who became man for our sakes, and through His icon you should bring Him to mind and worship Him, elevating your intellect through it to the venerable body of the Saviour, that is set on the right hand of the Father in heaven.
1. What choral dance and high festival is held in heaven, if there is one that has become an exile and a fugitive from the life led under the Father, knowing not that those who put themselves far from Him shall perish; if he has squandered the gift, and substance, and inheritance of the Father; if there is one whose faith has failed, and whose hope is spent, by rushing along with the Gentiles into the same profligacy of debauchery; and then, famished and destitute, and not even filled with what the swine eat, has arisen and come to his Father!
I. The Incarnation Fulfils All Its Types and Promises