St Gregory Palamas on the Trinity

Icon of St. Gregory Palamas - (1GP08) - Uncut Mountain Supply

Adapted from ‘The Lives of the Pillars of Orthodoxy (1990), pp. 333-335

Only God, – Who ever was before the ages – is unoriginate, unending, everlasting, unchanging, without confusion and infinite. Everything created is perishable, and changeable. God, the only unoriginate One, is neither without Logos/Reason nor is He without Wisdom. The Logos of God is also the Wisdom of God, because Wisdom is in the Logos and without the Logos there is no Wisdom. Therefore, to say that there was ever a time God existed without the Logos and without Wisdom is impious and impossible; for the Logos of God is also unoriginate. and Wisdom is never to be separated from Him.

Now the Logos is never to be found without the Spirit, a point which you Turks also confess. It is said that Christ is the Logos of God and the Spirit of God, (since He is co-essential) and never separated from the Holy Spirit. Therefore, God has a Logos and a Spirit that are ever with Him, and are also unoriginate and indivisible. For God was never, nor will He ever be, without spirit or reason (logos). One therefore is Three, and these Three are One. God, therefore, has a Logos and a Spirit, but not as we have a reason and a spirit. I shall give you an example: as the effulgence of the sun leaves it and shines down upon us, yet the radiance and the ray never separate from the disk (star) itself. That is why we name them (the radiance and the ray) ‘sun’ and do not name them another sun apart from the one. Thus, it is the same when we name God and the Logos of God and the Holy Spirit. We do not name some other God from the One, Who is unoriginate and eternal together with the unoriginate Logos and Spirit.

This is how we were taught to believe and confess by Christ Himself, the Logos of God. Not only did Christ teach thus, but Moses also, in the Decalogue, which you adopted on your part. When Moses uttered, ‘the Lord our God is one Lord’, he said three times the One – because he said ‘Lord’ twice and ‘God’ once – in order to reveal the Three in One and the One in Three. From the beginning, Moses desired to reveal that God and the Logos have the Spirit and between Them and with Them is One God. The Creator, Who created everything, said, ‘Let there be light, and there was light’. He said, ‘let the earth bring forth the herb of grass, bearing seed…’. Now, without going into detail, as David says, ‘All that God said, came to be’. The scriptural verse then, ‘God said, and it came to pass’ reveals that God has a logos – for a saying cannot be without a word – and by this Logos did all creation come to pass. The Logos of God existed before all creation and is uncreated. Since the Logos of God is uncreated, how can He not be God? This is because only God is uncreated.

Now let us return to Moses, concerning the making of man. He says, ‘And God formed the man from dust of the earth, and breathed upon his face the breath of life, and the man became a living soul’. Within the verse, ‘God breathed the breath of life, and the man became a living soul’ it is revealed that God has a Spirit and the Spirit is creating. The Creator of the soul is solely God. Thus did Job say, ‘the divine Spirit is that which formed me, and the breath of the Almighty that which teaches me’.

Holy Father Gregory, pray to Christ God to save our souls!

St Gregory Palamas on the Trinity