One way to think of it is this: Is God what he does? Are God's acts just as much God as God?
I'm a bit surprised no one has responded to this yet.
So am I. But it's always easier to attack a straw man ("they're idolators") than to really deal with the true argument (here in my case: energies/essence).
CD, I'm sure you'll trounce whatever I say with your great logic, but with reckless abandon I'll plunge in anyway.
No. God's acts are not God. Simple grammar rules can decipher this for you.
Consider a few Scripture verses:
From Psalm 66
1 Shout for joy to God, all the earth;
2 sing the glory of his name;
give to him glorious praise!
3 Say to God, How awesome are your deeds!
So great is your power that your enemies come cringing to you.
4 All the earth worships you
and sings praises to you;
they sing praises to your name. Selah
5 Come and see what God has done:
he is awesome in his deeds toward the children of man.
I think you've missed something important. Note the last line: "he is awesome in
his deeds." God is in his deeds, because his deeds are part of who he is. God is his actions. God's actions are God.
God is worshipped because of what He has done. You seem to be advocating that we worship His actions because they are God.
For example: 1 John: "God is love." God is
his loving acts (or, if you want to argue that grammatically "love" in this verse is not a verb, then you have to admit that God's love is not passive, but active, thus God is [active] love). God's loving acts are God.
Not, of course, in terms of simple identification. God is love is correct. Love is God is not correct. God is his loving acts, but is not nominally identical to them.
What I am expressing is the energies (activities)/essence distinction. This distinction is not really all that different, in principle, from classical Trinitarianism. Jesus is God, but is not the Father. The Father is God but is not the Holy Spirit.
Thus, God is his activities (energies), but is not self-identical to them. They are ineffably united in the dynamic of essence/energies but are similarly ineffably distinct.
Praise the Lord! Praise God in his sanctuary;
praise him in his mighty heavens!
2 Praise him for his mighty deeds;
praise him according to his excellent greatness!
3 Praise him with trumpet sound;
praise him with lute and harp!
4 Praise him with tambourine and dance;
praise him with strings and pipe!
5 Praise him with sounding cymbals;
praise him with loud clashing cymbals!
6 Let everything that has breath praise the Lord!
Praise the Lord!
Once again, we praise God because of what He has done. We do not praise His actions as if they were God.
The problem with this--and you'll have to follow me here--is that if what you are saying is true, Jesus' prayer in John 17 can never be fulfilled.
"My prayer is not for them [the apostles] alone. I pray also for thos who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us
so that the world may believe that you have sent me. I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one: i in them and you in me.
Now, according to what you're arguing here, all God's acts are not God and are, in fact, external to God. So, God's act of salvation is not internal to God, it is external. It is something that happens outside of God. Thus, when humans are saved, their salvation is wholly external to God. In other words the internal unity with God ("in us") for which Jesus prayed, can never happen
if God's acts, including and especially his salvific act in humans, are always by definition external to and something other than God.
If we are saved outside God, if God's acts are always by definitioin external to and something other than God, then we can never have internal union with God which is what Jesus prayed for.
Thus, according to what you're arguing, Jesus' prayer will never be fulfilled.
Now I'm sure you'll correct me if I've missed it, but I could not find even one place in Scripture where an action was worshipped. The object of worship is always a person or thing. It is the person or thing that is doing something that is worshipped and the action is [or may be] the reason for the worship.
Once again, we're dealing with a much fuller range of facts than simply what actions humans in Scripture do when they worship. We all agree that God alone is to be worshipped, and that worship that is directed to anything or anyone other than God is idolatry.
The quibble is over what does and does not constitute worship--and here our opponents are just simply uncharitable and close-minded toward what we say, claiming some sort of infallible knowledge as to what is and isn't in our hearts and minds--as well as over what is and isn't God.
I'm simply trying to point out that Scripture itself gives us reason to think that God is not some absolutely simple divine essence (which is the philosopher's god and not the biblical God), but is, rather, a tri-complexity of Persons united in one nature/essence, and, similarly, that since God is not absolutely simple, he cannot be separated from his acts but is also not self-identical with his acts.
If so, then, God's act in the Eucharist, to make the bread the Body of Christ and the wine the Blood of Christ, is just as much God as God himself is. So, when we worship God's action in the Eucharist, we are simply worshipping God, not created elements, but God.
Having begun with a faulty assumption, you end with a faulty conclusion. God's acts are not Him and the Eucharist is a thing, not an action.
Well, I think I've made the case that God's actions, while not self-identical to his nature, are, nonetheless not divisible from him.
But with regard to the Eucharist, you are just simply wrong: it is an action of God and that is what the Church has always taught. Indeed, that is what St. Paul indicates (as does Jesus in the institution narratives): took, blessed, brake, gave; the cup, the bread IS the communion of his Body and Blood.
"I worship God's action in the Eucharist," or "I worship God for His action in the Eucharist" is not the same as "I worship the Eucharist."
It is if, as I am arguing, God is not divisible from his actions.
Neither of the first two statements are likely to prompt the charges of idolatry which seem to be inevitable in this type of conversation.
Charges of idolatry are simply that: charges. They must be backed up by proof. All that I've seen so far of this "proof" is that our opponents are clamining infallible knowledge of hearts and minds in actions and intentinons. Not even the Pope of Rome claims this. They're more Roman Catholic than they know.