I never expected any blog post of mine to get 100 comments. I don’t write about politics (much) or sex (at all), so who would care? I’ve been criticized over the past four months by some Anchorites for running my mouth and not listening to my elders. In actual fact, all I’ve done is simply voice some difficulties with anchoretic triadology that I’ve had for three years. (What’s funny is that when I was writing all these essays against absolute divine simplicity, I was praised and no one said a word; even today, I still get email requests to access the old Tsar Lazar site. Unfortunately, I forgot both the username and password; I can’t even access it). Here are some of the difficulties:
- I still agree with Damascene that distinguishing between person and nature is important.
- However, is there an ontological distinction or a logical/rhetorical? If the former, then we have a quaternity. If the latter, then we really lose the force of Damascene’s statement.
- I then asked my friends to define both “person” and “nature,” particularly “person.” Several did not even try. One got on to what I was asking and said it was impossible on a patristic gloss (he is correct). He went on to say that apophatic theology precludes such a task. He is correct. I then came to the conclusion that one can either have apophatic theology or use the “person/nature” distinction as a kritique of Calvinism, but one may not do both. The point is quite simple: if you cannot define “person” then by a simple definition of terms and logic, you cannot accuse the other of confusing the two!
- However, even if you are successful at (3), we still have the problem of (2): either a quaternity or at least some kind of confusion.
- No wonder Fr Sergius Bulgakov got into trouble. He tried to answer both (2) and (3).