God the Father

Essence vs. Energy



Level: Beginning Catechism


Purpose: An overview of the nature of the Father from an Orthodox viewpoint


Objective: Students will recite aloud assigned Bible verses, will discuss what can be known for certain about God, will discuss how God can touch and act without being known. A thorough understanding of the differences between essence and energy should be reached.


Materials Required: 1 Bible per student, blackboard or large drawing pad with appropriate writing implement.




Instructor will describe limited human capacity for expression. Ask students to search out verses which use metaphors of human emotions or body parts with regard to the Father. Students will discuss why metaphors are used. (hand: Ex.7:5; Deut.5:15; Josh.4:25; Prov.21:1; arm: Ex.15:16; Deut.4:34; Ps.97:1; feet: Nahum 1:3; Mal.4:3; face: Gen.3:8; Ex.33:11; Num.6:25; Ps.12:1; wings: Ruth 2:12; back parts?: Ex.33:23)


Instructor will write on board a table with two categories:

God is God is not



Instructor will as students to describe God. Students will be asked to search out verses which describe God (i.e. invisible, 2 Cor 4:18; Col 1:15; without end, Ps 102:27 KJV, fills the universe Jer 23:24). Students will discuss how people knew what God was like.


Instructor will write on board a table with two categories:

Who God is What God does



From previous examples and personal experience, students will fit their knowledge of God into these categories. Instructor will ask how they know what God is. Discussion follows.