We have been reflecting about how Christians speak about God: the words that we use, the language that we use. And we have said, and I am convinced, that all speech about God can be classified or categorized in four different ways. There are the names of God, there are the attributes of God, there are the activities or actions of God, and then there are metaphors and similes that are used for God. For God, as God the Father and the Son Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit, and each of the divine Persons.
The names of God, as we have said, are Father, Son or Logos or Word or Wisdom, and Spirit; that there are names that apply to the one God and Father, names that apply to Jesus the Son, and names that apply to the Holy Spirit, like the Spirit of God or the Spirit of Christ. Jesus would be the Son of God or the Word of God or the Wisdom of God, the icon of God, and then he would be called Jesus the Christ, the Savior, the Lord. These would apply to Jesus. And then you have the names that are applied to the one God and Father.
We also reflected that there are attributes or characteristics, qualities, that belong to what you might say, to divinity in general, to the divinity of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. These characteristics belong, first of all, to God the Father, and then in his begotten Son and his Holy Spirit the very same characteristics or attributes apply. That these attributes would be such things as the following: existence, being; and then goodness and truth and wisdom and beauty and power and peace; and then in relation to creation, presence. There are these attributes of God, the idiomata of God, that are attributes of what we would call the divine nature or of the divine reality or of divinity itself. We thought about this; we spoke about this already.
Now today what we would like to speak about are the names of God that apply to God’s activities. It’s very interesting that the names of God and generally speaking the attributes of God are realities of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit that do not necessarily at all relate to creation, that God would be this way even if there was no world, even if there was no creation at all, if the hundred thousand billion galaxies with the hundred thousand billion stars or whatever exists and the creation exists, that God would be this way even with no world.
And Orthodox Christians do confess that the Godhead would be the Holy Trinity: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit exist just in the very being of God himself, of divinity itself. They are not names relative to creation. God is eternally the Father because he eternally has the Son. He uncreatedly has a Son and a Spirit. The Son and the Spirit are uncreated, eternal, and divine with the same uncreated eternal divinity as the Father, without reference to creation at all. The same could be said about most of the divine attributes, that God would be good, God would be wise, true, beautiful, totally perfect, totally holy, even if there’s no creation at all.
Some of the attributes of God do involve creation, like if you would say God is omnipresent. That would simply be absurd if there were no creation, because creation is where you get space and time. So God is timeless in himself, but God could be present to all moments of time and to every aspect of creation, and that would be a general attribute of God, that he is present everywhere, filling all things. But “everywhere” and “[all] things” are created realities; they are not uncreated realities.
Now when it comes to the divine activities, it’s interesting to note that in the theological development of the Eastern Orthodox Church, there are activities or operations or energies of God which are also considered to be divine and eternal and not necessarily related to the created order at all. In fact, St. Gregory Palamas, who is the one who really formulated this with the greatest clarity, and then he and his colleagues, their theology was officially and formally accepted by councils, councils of the Church that are universally received by all Eastern Orthodox churches on the planet earth, the so-called Palamite councils…
The theology and the doctrinal explications that are universally received by all Orthodox Christians—and we pray this way in church—is that divine actions and activities of God and energies of God, which could also be called his splendors, his rays, his glories, all of [the] actualizations of divine life in a divine manner, they also exist without reference to the world; that God expresses his wisdom, his power, his glory, his beauty, within the Holy Trinity, within the Godhead, in the most perfectly divine manner, without relationship to creation at all. Put in a simple sentence, the claim would be that all possible actions and realizations and revelations and splendors and illuminations and activities of God eternally proceed from the Father through the Son in the Spirit and are realized within divinity in the most perfectly divine manner and all co-adhere to each other. In other words, God expresses his goodness, his beauty, his truth, his wisdom in a divine manner within the Godhead, within the Trinity. He expresses his love—God has love as expressed within the Trinity.
This is very important, because there are some folks who say that creation is necessary because if there were no creation God would have nothing to love. We Eastern Orthodox would say that’s not true; that’s not accurate. The Father loves the Son and the Son loves the Father and the Father loves the Son in and through the Spirit and the Spirit is the very love of the Father that’s poured forth from him into the Son, and the Son actualizes, by the Holy Spirit, divine love, and the Father and the Son certainly love the Holy Spirit, and the Holy Spirit as a hypostasis, an instance of divinity, is certainly loving the Father and the Son. So love is actualized in a divine manner within the Trinity.
We would even say that creation cannot be the most perfect expression of any divine quality, because it would be an activity toward a creature. For God to express himself absolutely divinely and perfectly, he has to express himself in a divine manner, not simply in a created manner. We believe that God the Father expresses himself perfectly in a divine manner in the Person of his Son and Word and in the procession of the Godhead of the Holy Spirit. However, we have to say immediately that we can say all of these things because God has created. Obviously, if we did not exist, and we are creatures, we wouldn’t be able to say anything at all. But we creatures, we human being creatures particularly, we can say all these things that we say because we are convinced that God has created and has revealed himself. When we were speaking about Yahweh meaning the Lord in Greek and so on and quoting the psalm “The Lord is God,” Psalm 118, “The Lord is God and has revealed himself. Theos Kyrios kai epephanen imin,” it doesn’t mean simply shown us light. It could mean showing us light, but it doesn’t mean sunlight; it means the light of the uncreated Godhead is shown to us.
So in a word, everything we say about God we say because we believe God has acted. God has acted in creation; God has created. God has brought into being that which before was not. And here we would say in a simple sentence everything beside God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, are creatures. And everything beside the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit and all of the divine expressions within the Godhead itself, everything in addition are creatures. That’s why we say that the divine actions are uncreated, because they flow forth from God; they come forth from God in an uncreated manner, even if there was no creation.
But God has created. I mean, God has created: that’s our conviction. We’re talking on the radio today: we exist. I exist, you exist, the world exists, the universe exists. And the Christian claim would be God has acted to create, and we know that we are creatures. We know that we are made by God. St. Augustine put it a wonderful way. He said everything that exists beside God is crying out, clamans, crying, “I am a creature! I am not God!”
And we know that we are not God. We know that we have not brought our self into existence, and if we think about it we think: Gee, where did things come from? Some folks would say, well, we don’t know. Other folks would say, well, things always existed. Or some would say, well, there was some primal reality and there was the Big Bang and everything came flowing out from it and we’re still in the progress of all these things coming into being. But we Christians, Orthodox Christians, both on the basis of Scripture and on the basis of simply reading Scripture and saying, “Yeah, this makes sense,” we claim that everything that exists was brought into being by the will of God, that God acted to create, and the act of creation is a revelation of God. It’s a revelation of God’s glory, God’s beauty, God’s truth, God’s wisdom, God’s power, God’s peace, God’s harmony—all of those qualities of God.
Here we Orthodox Christians would even say—we would dare to say—that the creation is a manifestation of God in created forms. Now, there was a very famous Orthodox theologian named Serge Bulgakov who actually went so far as to say creation is God in God’s created form, that God in himself is God in his uncreated form and the cosmos, the universe, is God in his created form. Well, that’s not totally accurate. My professor of dogmatics—and I follow him—would say that’s not a good formulation at all. God does not have created forms. God is, strictly speaking, uncreated, incomprehensible, invisible, beyond anything, and holy, and there are no created forms of divinity.
However, it would be the teaching of the Bible and the Scriptures and certainly the Christian faith that all that does exist are created manifestations of God in strictly created form, that are not divine; they’re created, but they still proclaim the glory of God. They still reveal God. They somehow contain the words and the powers of God within them so that if you contemplate creation and creatures and come to see them for what they really are, if our mind and heart were pure, we would have what St. Maximus and the Fathers called physike theoria; we would have natural contemplation, and we would see the essences, the real meaning, the logoi of all things that exist, and we would see that they are expressions of something that exists in a strictly speaking divine manner within the Godhead itself.
So here, as an example of what I’m trying to say, is: if you have a tree or a bird or an animal—a rabbit; let’s say a rabbit—we would say that there is something in divinity that is an expression of divinity that grounds the actual created rabbit. One spiritual writer once said when you look upon a rabbit, you can contemplate the eternal rabbitness of God, or the rabbithood of God. Well, there is no rabbithood of God—that’s kind of silly to say—but in a manner of speaking, of poetic speaking, what that man was trying to say is that, in contemplating a rabbit, we know that the rabbit’s existence is expressing, in a strictly created manner—underline that 14 times—something that somehow exists within divinity that we can’t comprehend and can’t possibly know, can’t possibly conceive of, can’t possibly imagine. Nevertheless, when God manifests to create, he is manifesting his divinity in created forms.
So God acts. God acts. And so we have language about God that has to do with his activities. These activities are sometimes called operations. Perhaps the most popular jargony term that’s used for God’s operations or activities are his divine energies, his uncreated, divine energies, energoi, or powers, dynamoi, powers, energies, operations, actions. But we have names for those realities as they apply to the created order; as they apply to us.
Those titles of God, I wouldn’t want to call them names, because I believe it’s better to say the names of God are Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. But the activities of God that you can even pray to God using these particular titles, are titles like Creator, Revealer, Redeemer, Savior, Illuminator, Sanctifier—because God creates, and then God creates and he sustains. So we could call him, “O Sustainer of the universe,” because he must preserve and sustain in being what he has given being to out of nothing, namely, everything that is created. So we could say to God in prayer not only, “O Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, have mercy on us,” or “O God, Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name,” or “Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me, a sinner,” or “Holy Spirit, come and abide in us,” or “O Holy Trinity, glory to thee,” saying “thee” to the Trinity as a kind of corporate singular reality.
And then we can pray also: “O Good One, O Wise One, O Mighty One,” and those are using attributes. We spoke about this. So we could pray to God with names, we could pray to God with attributes, and we can pray to God with activities. We can say, “O Creator of heaven and earth, O Redeemer of mankind, O Sanctifier of all things, O Illuminator of all that exists, O Sustainer of creation.” I mean, we could pray this way, and it’s perfectly biblical, perfectly traditional. We do it in the liturgy, and it’s absolutely appropriate.
However, we must be careful, because what some folks do, certainly even what some Christians do, they will appropriate certain activities toward creation to certain of the divine hypostases. They will say, for example; it’s very common for people to say: The Father is the Creator, the Son is the Redeemer, the Holy Spirit is the Sanctifier. And some people—Protestants, liberal Protestants—who do not want to call God Father, Son, and Spirit, because they don’t want to use the terms “Father” and “Son,” so they invent other terms like “Parent” and “Child” or something like that, very often they will use activities. For example, I know for sure that some Christians who don’t want to baptize in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, following Scripture, which we believe is non-negotiable—we must use those names for God—they will baptize, for example, in the name of the Creator, the Redeemer, and the Sanctifier. They will even think that Creator, Redeemer, and Sanctifier are ways of speaking about the Holy Trinity in non-sexist language, so to speak.
Well, it must be stated very, very clearly and unequivocally: That is not acceptable for ancient Christianity; that is not acceptable for Eastern Orthodox Christians right now, because, although there may be some sense in which we could say the Father is the Creator because God the Father is the source of all divine action and certainly of creation, and in the Creed we say, “I believe in one God, Father Almighty, Creator of heaven and earth.” And then we can say that the Lord Jesus Christ is the Savior, is the Redeemer, since the Lord Jesus Christ is the Son of God, the eternal Word of God who takes flesh, who is incarnate on earth, to be the subject of the redeeming activity, and we can say we are redeemed by Jesus. And then we can even say that the Holy Spirit in some kind of a special manner is the Person who is kind of the main agent in sanctifying and hallowing and vivifying and empowering and inspiring all things.
But that is only in a manner of speaking that we have to be very careful about, because, technically speaking, strictly speaking, every activity of God is an activity of God the Father. God the Father creates, God the Father redeems, God the Father sanctifies, God the Father illumines, God the Father inspires. He is the one God who is not only the source, the cause, the principal—in Greek language this would be the aitia, the cause, the pigi, the source, the arche, the principal; in Latin, it would be principium, it would be fons, it would be causa, these terms that exist for God the Father—well, God the Father is the cause, the principal, and the fountain of the Son and the Spirit, too, in a divine manner; not in a manner according to creation, but in a manner according to God, in a strictly divine manner.
But when God the Father acts outside the divinity, when God acts outside the divinity, then he still is the cause of all things. But we also say—and this is a very, very clear scriptural, biblical teaching—that when God acts outside the Godhead, he always acts by and through his Son, who is the demiourgos, who is the agent of all God’s activities, who is the Word, who is the wisdom of God, by which and through which God does every one of his divine actions. And it would be clearly the biblical teaching—Old Testament and New Testament—that God only never acts without his Word but always acts through his Word, and that word in Hebrew, devar, it means not only a spoken word; it means an act. It literally means an act; it means a thing.
But the Holy Spirit is also always there as part of the activity. Every act of God is an act of the Father in, through, by the Son, but also accomplished, fulfilled, perfected by the Holy Spirit or in the Holy Spirit or through the Holy Spirit. So as St. Irenaeus said, the Word and the Spirit are the two hands of God, and God always acts with his two hands. He never acts with one hand; he always acts with both hands. And we can say that the agent of every divine activity is Jesus Christ, the Son of God, he who is the divine Word; and the Holy Spirit. And St. Paul teaches that in the New Testament. So does St. John if you read the Scripture. It’ll say all things came to be through the Word, through the Son.
In the letter to the Hebrews it says, for example, that God spoke and acted in many different ways in many different times, but in these latter days, he has acted or spoken to us through his own Son, by whom or through whom he has created the ages. So St. Paul also says that everything was made by the Christ, the Son of God, for him, in him, and toward him. These are the prepositions that are used: dia hyiou, through the Son, per filium, in Latin; en hyiou, in the Son; eis hyion, toward the Son, toward Christ. So everything is made through, by, in, toward, and for him, for the Son. So the agent even of creation is the Son of God. God creates the world through his Son. And this is in the Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed. When we say the Creed, we say about Jesus Christ:
And in one Lord, Jesus Christ, the only-begotten Son of God, begotten before all ages, Light from Light, true God of true God, begotten, not created, of one very same nature or substance or being, divinity, reality, with the Father—very same; not similar, but the same…
And then it says: “...through whom all things were created, through whom all things came to be, through whom all things were made.” And that refers to the Son; that refers to Jesus Christ in the Creed, not to God the Father. Sometimes when it’s read or sung improperly in church, the hearer or the singer even can think that it means the Father. He’ll say, “...begotten of the Father, through whom all things were made, or by whom all things were made.” People think it’s the Father, but the “by whom all things were made” refers to the Son, not the Father.
And not only [for] all things the agent of creation is the Son of God, but we would say, according to Scripture, the agent of all divine activities is the Son. God creates through the Son, he reveals himself through the Son, he sanctifies through the Son, he inspires the Holy Spirit through the Son, who is his Word. He redeems through his Son, he saves by way of his Son. And when the Son of God is incarnate as Jesus, God is acting in him: he’s reconciling the world through himself in Christ, he’s redeeming the world through Christ, he’s saving the world by Christ. But the agent of the activity—the source of it is God the Father—but the agent, the actor, the personal actor is the Son of God.
And then in every divine activity you have the presence and the power and the activity of the Holy Spirit as well, because God creates through the Son by the Holy Spirit. He redeems through the Son by the power of the Holy Spirit. He sanctifies everything through his Son, Jesus Christ, by the power of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is the perfecter of every divine activity. So we could say God is the source, the Son is the agent, and the Holy Spirit is the perfecter.
So it is inaccurate to say that the Father is the Creator, the Son is the Redeemer, and the Holy Spirit is the sanctifier, except in some very poetic way; strictly speaking, that’s not true. That’s not true. The source of creation is the Father, the agent of creation is the Son, and the perfecter of creation is the Holy Spirit. The source of redemption is God the Father, the agent of redemption is the Son, and the accomplisher of the redemptive act is the Holy Spirit. God is the source of illumination of mankind, all healing, all saving, but the agent of healing and saving and illumining is the Son, who is the Light, who is the Truth, who is the Holy One. And the accomplishment and the perfection of that is the Holy Spirit.
So here it’s very important that you cannot simply appropriate one or another of God’s activities to one or another of the Persons of the Holy Trinity. That is inaccurate; that is not correct. So we believe that all of the actions of God, all of the energies, all of the operations of God, that, as the holy Fathers say, following the Bible, like, for example, Moses and Elijah, when they are in touch with God, they’ll say that all of the divine actions are actions of the Trinity. More accurately speaking, all of the divine energies and operations flow from the Father, through the Son, in the Holy Spirit. So when human beings participate in the activities of God, the energies of God, the uncreated divine energies of God, these energies flow from the very divine nature of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, the one divinity, but they are given to us by the personal activities of God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, and never any other way, never any other different way.
You cannot speak of the divine energies without speaking of the three Persons of the Trinity and the fact that everything is from the Father, through the Son, in the Spirit, and that we in in the Spirit through the same Son have communion with the one God and Father. So the activity proceeds from God through the Son and the Spirit, and then our receiving of the energies of God and our return, our communion with God and our response, is accomplished in us because the Spirit is within us, conforming us to Christ, making us to be what Christ is, and then returning us, so to speak, to communion with God the Father. So everything is from the Father, through the Son, and in the Spirit, and everything from our side is in the Spirit, through the Son, toward the Father. That’s how it all works, and the source of all that activity is God himself.
Even our activity, the source of our true, good, holy, pure, virtuous activities is the Spirit of God in us, acting within us, by the power given to us by God through Jesus, so that by the same Holy Spirit through which God and Jesus acts in us, we become one spirit, one mind with Christ, and then have the relationship that Christ has with the Father so that we can call him Abba Father by faith and by grace the same way that the Son of God calls him Abba Father from all eternity and calls him Abba Father in his humanity when he’s incarnate on earth.
So the divine activities come forth from God, and as St. Gregory of Nyssa put it in a wonderful expression, he said, “And they reach even unto us.” They reach even unto us. And it is through these activities that we can state what the properties and attributes and characteristics and qualities of God are. When we say God is good, God is wise, God is peaceful, God is merciful, God is love, God is truth, God is wisdom, God is power—the very reason we can say this is because of the activities of God toward us.
Our participation in the divine energies that proceed from the Father, through the Son, in the Spirit, even from the Father and the Son and the Spirit, even to us, that is what allows us to know what the properties of God are and even to know what the names of God are, because the names of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are revealed to us through the divine activities of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. It’s because God reveals himself to us as Abba Father through Christ and the Spirit, and the Spirit is in us, calling Abba Father—St. Paul wrote that in the fourth chapter of the letter to Galatians and the eighth chapter of the letter to the Romans—it’s the Spirit in us that allows us through Christ to call God Abba Father.
So the names by which we refer to God are revealed to us through the divine actions of God, and the attributes of God can be listed and known and uttered and proclaimed also through the divine activity. This point is a kind of a principle or an axiom of Orthodox theology, of Orthodox Christianity, namely, that all theologia is possible because of oikonomia. That would be the technical terminology. We can make theological statements because God has acted in his oikonomia, in his dispensation, in his household plan. God has acted. God has acted in creation, and then has acted in revelation. He has acted in choosing Abraham, Isaac, Jacob. He has acted with Moses. He had acted through the prophets. He has acted in giving us the law, the Torah. And his ultimate, final act is the incarnation of the Logos, Word, Wisdom, Power, Truth, Light of God in Jesus Christ himself, and even Jesus Christ is known because of the Holy Spirit.
In his theological writings, St. Gregory the Theologian said we know the Father through the Son, and we know the Son by way of the Holy Spirit. Then he asked the question: How do we know the Holy Spirit? And he said the multitude of the saints reveal the Spirit to us, but then he also added: And never forget that the Holy One of God, the Saint, the human being who is the Holy One, is Christ himself. So Christ reveals the divinity of the Spirit in his life and teaching and work and his victory over death, and then it is the Spirit of God who reveals Christ to us, who then makes God known to us as Abba Father.
So everything is possible because of the divine actions. Here this would be a basic principle of the Christian faith. Everything we say, everything we proclaim, everything that we confess, everything that we witness to is because God has acted first. In the first letter of John, the Apostle even says we have to love God and each other because God loved us first. So the priority always belongs to God, in everything, but we are allowed to participate in the divine actions, energies, to resemble them, to imitate them, as Dionysius said, and then these energies become our own virtues.
It’s very interesting that the human virtues are actually the actualizations of the divine energies in us. And that, by the way, also—not by the way at all: it’s very important, very central—that’s what we mean by grace. For Eastern Orthodox Christians, grace is not some type of created entity which, by the way, the Council of Trent in the Latin Church claimed that it was. It is not something that God somehow produces, mixes up, and infuses in us so that we can have some analogous ideas about God. Oh no, no, no. The activities of God are really divine. Gregory Palamas fought for this with his cohorts and his colleagues, and he won, and that’s a dogma of Eastern Orthodoxy. So grace, the charis of God is divine; it’s uncreated. And the grace are all the gifts, all the graces that are poured to us through the divine actions of creation, redemption, sanctification, illumination. And we pray to God that way: O Redeemer, O Creator, O Illuminator, O Sanctifier. But that is to the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit equally.
St. Gregory of Nyssa also said a very important thing about these divine energies. He said—and was repeated by all the Cappdocian Fathers: Basil, Gregory, John Chrysostom, and then later on certainly by Maximus and Dionysius and Gregory Palamas and all the holy Fathers—they would say that the divine energies are countless, because God’s nature is infinite and boundless. So God can act in countlessly infinite different ways towards us, and therefore the holy Fathers—St. Gregory of Nyssa explicitly—said we participate in those divine energies eis tous aionas ton aionon, unto ages of ages. You could never totally completely exhaust participation in the supra-non-being of the Godhead, the divine nature, the unknowable divine nature, through the divine actions, because God is boundless.
Even Gregory said that the eternal life is an epiktasis, a continuous participation and actualization in us of all of God’s glories and splendors and beauties and operations and energies and actions. And it never, ever ends; it just gets better and better. Gregory quoted the Apostle Paul when he said the glory of God is revealed to us in the face of Christ, and we proceed from glory to glory through Jesus, in the Spirit, the glory that belongs to God alone. We participate in that divine doxa, the kabod Yahweh, the splendor of God.
So these actions are boundless, always new, always different. In fact, Gregory even dared to say in his mystical writing that through these divine activities God appears to us new every day. Christ appears to us new and different every day, because there are aspects of him that are new and then aspects of him that are deeper. We see better, clearer, more fully, and this goes on forever, literally unto ages of ages. It’s never exhausted; it’s never over, and that is the content of everlasting life.
But Gregory and all the holy Fathers also said that the Three who act—there are Three who act: Father, Son, and Spirit. But the activity is one. The action of God is one. There are many divine energies, but in each of those divine energies you have the wholeness of divine activity in each one, and that’s why the holy Fathers would say that in any operation and action of God, the whole fullness of divinity is in every single act. And that’s why they would say—they use an expression called perichoresis, a kind of indwelling of the activities and graces. What this means in everyday language is this: If you have God’s love, it’s the love of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. It’s the love of the one God who is love, through his beloved Son, by the Holy Spirit through whom he has poured out his love onto our hearts, as St. Paul said in the letter to the Romans. So it says this action of the divine love is one and the same.
But then they would say if God is loving us and we know divine love, then we know divine wisdom, because God’s love is wise; it’s perfect. We know divine beauty because the love is beautiful. We know divine peace because the love is peaceful. We know divine power because the love is powerful. We know divine truth because the love is truthful; it’s real. But then you can take any attribute of God: if you know divine wisdom, then you know divine love and truth and beauty and peace. If you know divine peace, then you divine love, you know divine humility—because God is really humbled in doing these actions; humility is a quality and a property of God, not just of the incarnate Jesus but of God himself. There is a humility of God in his actions.
So all the actions of God that reach even to us, that we can participate in, that we can know, it’s through these actions that we name the divine qualities and properties, and it’s through these actions that we even know that the deepest, fullest names of God, the Godhead, the Persons of the Godhead, the perfect name of the one God is Abba Father. The perfect name of his only-begotten Son is Son or Word or Logos or Wisdom, but because he is incarnate, it would be Jesus Christ. And the perfect name of the Spirit is Spirit: Spirit, Holy Spirit. So the actions are foundational to theology and to the knowledge of God.
So we have language of activities, energies, operations. We have language of attributes, properties, qualities, characteristics. And then we have the language of the hypostatic or personal names. Names, attributes, and actions. But there is still another way that creatures speak about God, and that is through metaphors and similes, and we’ll reflect on that the next time.