The Apostle Peter writes in his second epistle that:
divine power has granted to us all things that
pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge
of Him, Who has called us by His glory and virtue,
by which have been given to us exceedingly great and
precious promises, that through these you may be
partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the
corruption that is in the world through lust". (2 Peter 1:3-4)
This last phrase of the Apostle of course does not imply
that man can possibly come to know the essence of God -
that is, that which characterizes the divine existence
and separates it from the created creations. And this is
because, if man were capable of entering the divine
nature, then he himself would become God; in which case,
we would not have just one but many gods. "You
will not be able to see My face" says God to
Moses, "because it is not possible for man to
look upon My face and live." (Exod.33:20; cmp.
2. Knowledge of the divine energies
Nevertheless, the words of the Holy Bible are explicit;
God's promise is that He will render mankind "a
communicant of divine nature" - partakers of the divine
So, how is this possible, if God's nature is
inapproachable by man?
The answer is provided by the Fathers of the Church,
when they discern between the Divine Essence and the
Divine Energies. Man -they assert- cannot possibly
become acquainted with the essence of God. However, it
is possible for him to become acquainted with His Divine
Energies, which are inseparable from His Essence. At
this point, the Fathers use the example of the sun's
rays and say that even though the sunrays are
inseparable from the sun, they nevertheless are
perceptible and they act beyond the sun.
energies of God" says Basil the Great, "descend upon us.
His Essence however remains unapproachable". In
this way, God is present in His divine energies, which
constitute the revealing of the divine nature.
God therefore reveals Himself to people through His
divine energies and He invites them to become "communants
of divine nature". Not participants of the Divine
Essence, but the uncreated divine energies, which are
inseparable from the Divine Essence.
The glory of the Trinitarian God, which reveals itself with
the Uncreated divine light within Creation and in the
life of people, renders the Saints of our Church
participants of the divine glory.
We will have the opportunity to refer more extensively
on this subject, when we speak about the divine glory
that fills God's new creation: that is, the life of the
Church and of the Saints of the Church and acts through
the precious Cross, the sacred icons, the venerable
relics, sanctification and generally speaking, through
all the sanctified things of our Church. For this
reason, we shall confine ourselves here to only these
few things, without further fortifying them with the
3. The eternicity of the divine energies
It is obvious that the expression of the Divine Essence
through divine powers and energies is not at all
dependent on the existence or not of the world.
The world has absolutely nothing to do with this event.
It is for this reason that we say the divine energies
are uncreated and eternal - just as the glory of the
Trinitarian God is likewise uncreated and eternal.
It is in this way that we comprehend why the creation of
the world (which is the result of those divine
energies), as well as all the other events of God's
presence within the world and through those divine
energies, do not impose any change in the divine life;
they are the result of God's love, which, like all
divine powers, comprise the manifestation of God's
God remains unaltered - that is, without any "variation
or shadow of
(James 1:17; cmp. Psalms 101:28)
but His glory fills and vivifies man and Creation
4. God's traces in Creation
With the uncreated energies that are made manifest in
the world and leave their imprint in Creation, man - who
studies those creations - is able to perceive the
presence of God; in other words, he can discover the
glory of God within Creation itself.
The Apostle Paul says: "because
what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God
has shown it to them. 20 For since the creation of the
world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being
understood by the things that are made, even His eternal
power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse..."
The Prophet Habakkuk cries out: "...His
virtue has covered heavens, and the earth is full of his
praise. 4 And his brightness will be like light; horns
are in his hands. And he has established a strong love
of his strength. (Habbakuk
3:4; cmp. Numbers 14:21)
This same truth is also proclaimed by the Psalmist:
heavens are telling of divine glory,
and the firmament proclaims his handiwork. Day to day
spews forth utterance,and night to night proclaims
knowledge. There are no conversations, nor are there
words,the articulations of which are not heard. Their
sound went out to all the earth,and to the ends of the
world their utterances.
[...] The law of the Lord is faultless, turning
souls; the testimony of the Lord is reliable, making
infants wise; the statutes of the Lord are upright,
making glad the heart; the commandment of the Lord is
radiant, enlightening the eyes..."
(Psalms 19:1-4, 7-8. Cmp. Wisdom of Solomon 13:3-9, Wisdom of
Here, it is not only about an external witness of God's
presence in the world, but mainly about the encounter of
the divine energies of God in the heart of man; about
the union of man with the uncreated Divine Energies,
which are the result of divine grace inside man.
Therefore, that which is revealed to man through
Creation is the glory of God - the love and the wisdom
of God - the rays of divine glory which emanate and
vivify all of Creation.
When man perceives these life-giving rays of divine
love, he senses the presence of God Who emanates the
divine powers, he becomes united with the Divine
Energies of God - in other words, he becomes a vessel of
God's grace, a communicant of the divine nature and a "partaker
of God's holiness" (Hebr. 12:10; 2 Peter 1:4).