The invisible reality effected by the sacraments is called "grace," "divine grace," the "grace of the Holy Spirit," by both Western and some Eastern theologians, and the "gift of the Holy Spirit," or the "gift of God," by others. This, however, does not tell us just what this reality is. More helpful, perhaps, are such descriptive names as the "power of the Holy Spirit," "spiritual and supernatural power," "invisible power," or "saving power," because they are more conducive to understanding the end-result in the recipient: "theosis," deification. Western theology seems to have ignored this beautiful concept and has preferred to call it merely "justification," "sanctification," and even "purification." Since deification is effected by grace, the study of both are intertwined in Eastern theology. Only by considering grace as divine power or energies can we hope to understand even vaguely the real meaning of St. Peter's words, "partakers of the divine nature". To dismiss Peter's words as rhetorical or metaphoric would be folly, for there are too many revealed truths which we would have to ignore, too many teachings of the Fathers which we would have to discard. Deification is the constant theme of St. John's Gospel and of St. Paul's Epistles; in fact, the whole doctrine of the Mystical Body is based on it. For the Eastern Fathers and church writers, "deification" was never merely a metaphor. In Egypt, Clement of Alexandria speaks of man's "assimilation to God," and Origen, writing about the incarnation of Christ, states that" from him began the union of the divine with the human nature, so that the human, by communion with the divine, might rise to be divine, not in Jesus alone, but in all who believe and enter upon the life which Jesus taught." Athanasius, too, asserts that God became man that we humans might become God. In the Cappadocian Church, Basil speaks of the heavenly citizen's "abiding in God, (his) being made like to God, and, highest of all, (his) being made God." Gregory of Nazianzus writes about Christ still pleading as Man, "for my salvation...until he make me God by the power of his incarnation." Other writers took the concept from there and developed it, especially Dionysius the Pseudo- Areopagite and Maximus. Understanding even the basics of deification, this "changing of the soul into divine nature," is not easy. While Scriptures and tradition are clear regarding man's participation in the divine nature, they are no less explicit about the absolute incommunicability of the divine Being. The ancients wrestled with the problem. After Nicaea, the Fathers wisely made the distinction between studying the Divine Being Itself, the Holy Trinity (to them, theology proper) and the various, exterior manifestations of God, the Trinity known in its relation to created being (which they labeled divine economy). They recognized a distinction between the essence of God, or his nature properly so-called, which is unknowable, inaccessible, and incommunicable, and his divine energies or operation, powers proper to and inseparable from God's essence through which he manifests, communicates, and gives himself. Basil, for example, clearly teaches that "there is a distinction between (God's) essence and his listed attributes. The energies (attributes) are various, the essence is simple. It is through his energies that we say we know our God; we do not claim that we can come near his essence, for his energies come down to us, while his essence remains unapproachable." Likewise, Chrysostom explains the beginning of St. John's Gospel as follows:" This is why he (John) never posits a name to the essence, for it is impossible to say what God is in his essence; but he shows him to us everywhere through the energies. The two Gregories make similar distinctions. Interpreted in the light of such tradition, the work and ideas of Dionysius the Pseudo- Areopagite are much easier to understand. For him the "unions " in God, "the secret mansions only seldom thrown open," are equated with the transcendence of God or his superessential nature, in itself unknowable and inaccessible; on the other hand, God's " distinctions " are his "processions beyond himself"; God's "manifestations" he equates with the energies or powers of God through which God reveals himself in his creatures (but not according to his substance). Carrying on this Eastern tradition, John Damascene writes: "Anything we assert positively of God manifests not his nature but the things about his nature," and he graphically labels the divine energies the "rush" or the "movement" of God. The synthesis of the Eastern writers and Fathers concerning "theosis," deification, the doctrines of the divine energies and of the absolute incommunicability of God's nature, was formulated by Gregory Palamas, bishop of Thessalonika from 1347-1350. The fact that his system of ascetic and dogmatic theology cannot be reconciled with the philosophical tenets of scholasticism does not derogate from its greatness; in fact, it seems more Christian, since it is based on the God of Scripture and on the Fathers. Palamas expanded the Dionysian concept of the inaccessibility of God's essence. From Basil and Gregory of Nyssa, he borrowed the idea of God's knowability through his energies (while his essence remains unknowable and unnamable), and the distinction between divine energies and essence. From Gregory the Theologian, he took over the theory of the "uncreated light." In a sense, he could have found all of this in Chrysostom. In fact, Palamas seems to have taken something from every earlier Eastern writer. He did more than borrow, however: he developed, synthesized, and systematized their teachings, including the great concept of "theosis." After noting what appear to be paradoxes, opposites in God, he proposes that purely philosphical concepts and terminology cannot be applied to God as they are to finite beingsâ€”even such concepts as essence: "He is not essence because he transcends all essence...no created thing can have anything in common with the supreme Being or even any proximity with the supreme Being." In referring to God as he is in himself, Palamas prefers the expression "supra-substance" instead of substance and "supra-essential, instead of essential; he even uses the expression "more-than-God" in this sense. In his "supra-essence," or "supra-substance," God is utterly unaccessible, uncommunicable, and unknowable; in fact, he is absolutely unique and inexpressible: "There is for him no name in this or in the future world, no word formed in the soul or uttered by the tongue; there can be no contact with him either sensible or intellectual; nor can there even be any image whatever if we discount that of total inapprehensibility obtained by way of denialâ€”by denying (transcending) everything which exists or can be named. It is not even permissible to call him a substance or a nature if these terms are used in their proper sense." Yet, being a biblical realist, Palamas is convinced that the opposite is also true of God: that he is personal and active, communicating himself, manifesting his goodness to all, using his creative and providential energies. In Aristotelian terms, of the ten categories of existence, Palamas chooses only two which could be applied to God as the "supra-essential essence," for he says: "one can only see the categories of relation and of action", i.e., in Aristotelian terminology, the manifestation ad extra of the being) and this only in a way different from other beings, without introducing any "confusion "into him. God's exteriorizations or that which goes out of himself (his "coming forward") he calls "energies,u which refer to the mode of divine existence outside his inaccessible supra-essence. "We must," he writes, "look for a God who not only possesses within himself his own end, his own energy, and his own deification, but (one) who is a good Godâ€” since it will not be enough for him to exist merely in self-contemplationâ€” not only perfect, but surpassing all fullness, so that when he wishes to do good, he can. He will not only be immobile, but will set himself in motion; thus, he will be present for all in his manifestations and in his creative and providential energies." These energies manifest God in as many ways as God deals with creatures, from creation to providential care and the conferring of grace in or outside the sacraments. Whereas God in his (supra) substance is incommunicable, inapprehensible, unnameable, and indivisible, divine energy is communicable, apprehensible, and nameable. The difference is based on the distinction (but not divisibility) between substance and energy as between cause and that which is conditioned by cause. Formulating the authentic Byzantine teaching regarding this point, the "Acts" of the Constantinopolitan Council of 1351 state: "We conceive this (energy) not as being outside the substance of God, but as a substantial and essential movement of God; we say that it proceeds and flows from the Divine Being as from its consubstantial source; it is never found without it, but coexists with it; it cannot be separated from the Divine substance either by time or by any temporal and spatial distance, but proceeds from it and eternally coexists with it outside time in eternity." Distinguishing Divine Being in his supra- essence and in his energies does not derogate from his simplicity. Simplicity does not exclude distinction, only separation and division. As Gregory of Nyssa observes regarding human intelligence, it remains simple, despite the multiplicity and diversity of its faculties. Indeed, this analogy is quite good, for in the process of knowing something outside itself, human intelligence does not become divided, only diversifiedâ€”and its essence does not pass into the substance of the thing known, nor is its power of concentration in any way diminished. Wisdom and power are operations or energies of the Divine Beingâ€”but he remains simple, nor is his essence diminished in any way by his operations. The energies, says Palamas, "do not compose "the being of God, for that is not a composite entity, and "it is he who gives them their existence, without taking his existence from them; indeed, it is not the realities which surround God which are the essence of God, but he is their essence." In other words, these energies are not something in themselves, existing without and separated from God, but they are God himself (not according to his substance, however) in his action and selfrevelation to the world. The basis for the absence of complexity in God in spite of the distinctness of substance from energy is the non-hypostatic and nonautonomous nature of that energy. The divine energy neither increases nor decreases: it is not changeable. Whether present or not, it is the changeless, eternal, continuous action of God, differing only in the degree of its manifestation and participation by the creature. It remains unchangeable regardless of whether creatures participate in it or not; it is the same whether creatures exist or not. In terms of Aristotelian categories of being, we must not think of divine energy, however, as accident: "Accident is something which begins and ceases to be; therefore, (it is true) something inseparable can also be considered as accident. A natural (attribute) is, in a sense, accident, because it increases and decreases, such as, for example, knowledge in the rational soul. But there is no such thing in God, since he remains entirely changeless. Wherefore, there is nothing in him which can be called accident." The 1351 Council reiterates the distinction between divine substance and energy, but stresses their inseparability: "As we confess the Divine substantial unity, not only according to indivisibility, but in other ways, such as common uncreatedness and indescribability, so we have learned to praise as God-fitting that distinction and difference (between substance and energy) without breaking up (the unity) into real separateness or conceiving any unnatural difference or essential estrangement or interval between the two. God forbid! But we admit such a distinction as can exist between that which causes and that which is caused essentially... distinguishing by one concept in a God-fitting manner that which is, by its essence, united and inseparable." We can and do distinguish the Three Divine Persons, the three hypostases in the Holy Trinity; yet God is one, not composite but simple, in the one divine nature. Thus also the distinction of substance from energy does not introduce composition nor plurality: "God does not lose his simplicity as a result of either separation and distinction of the hypostases or separation and plurality of energies." God's divine energies emanate from the one divine nature and are, therefore, the manifestation of eternal splendor common to the three divine Persons, be that manifestation Wisdom, Power, Justice, Love, Goodness, or an infinity of other "attributes "unknown to man. Like the energies, the divine names are innumerable, e.g., God is Love, God is Wisdom, etc. It is supremely important to keep in mind the absolute incommunicability of the Divine substance (or "supra-substance," as termed by Palamas). If a creature were able, even in the smallest degree, to partake of the Divine substance itself, he would be substantially identified with God (because of the indivisibility of that substance) and become a new divine hypostasis inseparable from the substance; hence, the creature would be God by essence, and God would then no longer be Trinity but a Divinity with countless hypostasesâ€”as many as there would be persons participating in his essence.38 Pantheism would result. The concept of "created grace" is complex. Even according to the Latin point of view grace is not absolutely "created." Using Aristotelian terms and concepts, Aquinas teaches: "Because grace is above human nature, it could be neither a substance nor a substantial form, but is an accidental form of the soul itself. For what is substantially in God, has being accidentally in the soul participating of the divine goodness, as it is clear about science." Then, he further explains, accident: "properly speaking, neither exists nor falls into corruption, but it is said to exist or to fall into corruption, in as much as the subject begins or ceases to be in energy according to that accident." According to this concept, then, grace being an accidental form neither existing nor falling into corruption, cannot really be called "created " in the strict sense. The Byzantine view of deifying grace as God's own energy is much more theocentric. Always keeping in mind that God's essence and energies are inseparable but distinct, divine energy-grace is not separable from God, but is divine life granted to man. Like Maximus, Palamas explains that "grace accomplishes the mysterious union...God in all fullness comes to dwell in the complete being of those who are worthy of it, and the saints fully dwell in their complete being in the whole God by drawing to themselves the whole God, and not receiving any reward besides God himself for the ascent accomplished towards him. He attaches himself to them as the soul is attached to the body, as to his own members." The Byzantines' theosis, deification, was never a mere abstract, intellectual concept. It is real in the strictest sense of the word. Deified man, within his limits, possesses by grace that which the Holy Trinity has by nature. Possessing this divine energy-grace means having God, not in his essence but in his energies, which are inseparable (though not distinct) from his essence. God really comes to man, wholly and entirely, through his grace-energy: . God...unites himself to them to the extent of coming to dwell in his entirety in their entireties, while they dwell completely in him; and through the Son, the Spirit spreads in abundance over them (Tt 3:6)...do not, however, consider that God lets himself be seen in his supraessential essence, but according to the deifying gift and according to his energy, according to the grace of adoption, uncreated deification, and the direct hypostasized glory." There is really nothing new about this teaching. It was taught centuries before by Basil who, in a beautiful passage, said that the Holy Spirit, the source of all holiness, is "in essence simple, in powers various; wholly present in each one and wholly present everywhere; impassively divided, yet shared without losing any of Ms entirely, like a sunbeam whose kindly light falls on him who enjoys it as though it shone for him alone but in fact it shines upon earth, sea, and air. In the same way, the Spirit is present in each of those who receives him as if each recipient were the only one, and yet he pours out total and sufficient grace on all men. He is enjoyed by all who share him according to the measure of their respective capacities... "Shining upon those that are cleansed of every stain, he makes them spiritual by communion with himself. As bright, transparent bodies, when a sunbeam falls on them, become brilliant too and shine with a fresh brightness of their own, so souls in whom the Spirit dwells, through his illumination, become spiritual and send forth their grace to others. From this Source comes foreknowledge of the future, understanding of mysteries, perception of what is hidden, the distribution of good gifts, a heavenly citizenship, a place in the chorus of angels, joy without end, abiding in God, the being made ike unto God, and, highest of all, the being made God.