41. Early Christians and Sat Naam

Guru Nanak was truly universal in his bringing knowledge of SatNaam to the world. He believed in the unity of man and a universal focus of worship.

The concept of Sat Naam was understood by early Eastern Christians. They understood that God in essence was transcendent Truth (Sat) as well as manifest uncreated eternal energies (Naam). It was only through these uncreated energies that God could be perceived or interacted with.

According to Eastern Christian Orthodoxy, God is unknowable and utterly transcendent in his essence, but He has manifested himself in his uncreated energies in order that union with him would be possible. This point was debated and finally the view of Church father Palamas was upheld by a Church council which made it official. As such, the council stated that this distinction in God did not imply division or ditheism, for the essence and the energies both belong to the same indivisible God who mysteriously manifests himself fully in his uncreated energies, and it is through these uncreated energies that an experiential union with God is made possible. In 1351, the Council of Constantinople formally accepted Palamas’ patristic formulations rather than the rationalistic theology propounded by the humanists, for by this decision, the Council made the existential hesychastic theology official Church dogma.

This view is entirely consistent with the view that only through the Naam, and not through any created forms, is God, with his Grace, approachable.


John Theobald