Filioque

Discussion in 'Theology and Doctrine' started by Scottish Monk, Feb 18, 2014.

  1. Scottish Monk

    Scottish Monk Well-Known Member

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    Any thoughts on the Filioque?

    Holy Spirit proceeding from the Father (Orthodox theology) versus Holy Spirit proceeding from both the Father and the Son (Western theology).

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  2. Lowly Layman

    Lowly Layman Well-Known Member

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    while i affirm that the holy spirit proceeds from the father and the son as a scriptural truth, i am saddened that the unilateral inclusion of the phrase in the creed has caused division between east and west
     
  3. Peteprint

    Peteprint Well-Known Member Anglican

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    The way it has been explained to me is that both the Son and the Holy Spirit come from the Father, which maintains His role as the source and primary member of the Trinity. While all three are equally divine, the Father is considered God in a special sense. The Lord taught us to pray to the Father, and each member of the Trinity has a unique role in the Godhead.
     
  4. MatthewOlson

    MatthewOlson Member

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    I agree with @Lowly Layman here.
     
  5. Spherelink

    Spherelink Active Member

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    I agree.
     
  6. Mockingbird

    Mockingbird Member

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  7. Servos

    Servos Active Member

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    "But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me"
    Gospel of John, 15, 26

    I think that the Christ know the best. He would said "and Son" if that was The Truth.
     
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  8. Lowly Layman

    Lowly Layman Well-Known Member

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    good point servos, but you didn't highlight all the relevant parts of that thought: "the Comforter...whom I will send you..." The Spirit proceeds from the Father and is sent by the Son. I agree that the filioque shouls be worded better, but i think the absense of it altogether would leave a gaping hole in our doctrine
     
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  9. Botolph

    Botolph Well-Known Member

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    I must confess to having been struggling with this issue of late, as for some reason it has returned to pester me.

    1] The Procedural Matters:
    a. 321 The Creed was affirmed by the Council of Nicea without the Filioque Clause
    b. 382 The Creed was expanded by the Council of Constantinople without the Filioque Clause being added
    c. 451 The Creed was confirmed by the Council of Chalcedon without the Filioque.
    d. 589 The Filioque Clause was added to the Creed by the Council of Toledo (not an oecumenical council)
    e. 680 The Filioque Clause was added to the Creed by the Council of Hatfield (not an oecumenical council)
    f. 1014 The Filioque Clause is added the the Creed in Rome on the coronation of Henry II (German) as Holy Roman Emperor.
    g. 1054 The Great Schism.​

    It seems to me that procedurally much of the matter has to do with the claims of the Primacy of Rome and the Authority of the Pope, as against the authority of an Oecumenical Council.

    2] The Procedural Theology
    a. The development of a doctrine of the Holy Trinity was quite fast in the Church, and the term is used from very early in the second century - eg Irenaeus in around 110.
    b. Augustine posited a theology of double procession which seemed to gain much traction, though not universal acceptance.
    c. There is a real question of what it means in latin and what it means in Greek.​

    3] Sacramentally
    Depending on how you understand an epiclesis in the eucharist, a theology of double procession may indeed make something complex if not incomprehensible of this simple meal we were called to share that we might be the sacrament of Christ's body in the world​

    4] Biblically
    I find it increasingly hard to understand the brooding of the Holy Spirit over the Waters before the Creative Word and Wisdom of God calls the universe into being.​

    I would be interested in what others think of this matter. Yes I am aware of article 5 of the 39.
     
  10. Thomas

    Thomas New Member

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    I agree with Mockingbird that the diagrams above do not accurately portray the status of the controversy between the East and the West. The diagram of the Eastern Orthodox Church would seem to imply that the Spirit proceeds without any relation to the Son. What the Eastern Church holds is that the Spirit proceeds from the Father through the Son (that is, per filium rather than filioque). The distinction might be seen as a matter of theological hairsplitting at first glance, but this single preposition--"through"--contains within it an entire trinitarian understanding; one which I believe is worth unpacking.

    For the East, the Father is the arche or principle of the Godhead--not in terms of essence (as if the Father were "more God" than Son and Spirit--thus implying subordinationism) but in terms of origin (the Father is neither begotten of the Son or the Spirit, nor does he proceed from the Son or the Spirit, but is rather he who begets the Son and from whom the Spirit proceeds). In short, the Father eternally speaks the Word of the Son through the power of the Holy Spirit. God, in himself, is therefore an event of proclamation--an eternal sermon, as it were, whose content is Jesus Christ.

    Interestingly enough, St. Thomas, who is an ardent proponent of the filioque clause, writes the following:

    "We ought not to say about God anything which is not found in Holy Scripture either explicitly or implicitly. But although we do not find it verbally expressed in Holy Scripture that the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Son, still we do find it in the sense of Scripture, especially where the Son says, speaking of the Holy Spirit, He will glorify Me, because He shall receive of Mine (John 16:14). It is also a rule of Holy Scripture that whatever is said of the Father, applies to the Son, although there be added an exclusive term; except only as regards what belongs to the oppose relations, whereby the Father and the Son are distinguished from each other. For when the Lord says, No one knoweth the Son, but the Father, the idea of the Son knowing Himself is not excluded. So therefore when we say that the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father, even though it be added that He proceeds from the Father alone, the Son would not thereby be at all excluded; because as regards being the principle of the Holy Spirit, the Father and the Son are not opposed to each other, but only as regards the fact that one is the Father, and the other is the Son" (ST I, q. 36, a. 2, reply 1).
    As far as I can see, Thomas basically dissolves the tension between the Eastern and Western distinction between the Spirit proceeding from the Father "and" (filioque) or "through" (per filium) the Son. Thomas is clear that the Spirit does not proceed from the Father in the same way that the Spirit proceeds from the Son. Hence why Thomas notes in his answer that "the Greeks themselves recognize that the procession of the Holy Spirit has some order to the Son. For they grant that the Holy Spirit is the Spirit of the Son; and that He is from the Father through the Son. Some of them are said also to concede that He is from the Son; or that He flows from the Son, but not that He proceeds; which seems to come from ignorance or obstinacy" (ST I, q. 36, a. 2). Thomas' point, I think, is simply to say that none of our language, in and of itself, will be able to secure the teaching of Scripture. Thus whether we say "and" or "through" is finally immaterial to the much more important question of whether we have a shared understanding of what the particular words we use mean and so confess.

    So if it is true that Thomas readily concedes the Eastern insistence that the filioque should in no way be understood to mean that the Spirit proceeds from the Father in exactly the same way and sense that the Spirit proceeds from the Son, then it would seem to follow that the disagreement between the East and the West is far less a substantive theological disagreement than it is a quarreling over words (II Tim. 2:14). My own view is this: as long as we all understand what it is we are confessing, the inclusion of the filioque clause should be treated as a matter of adiaphora. The West should keep it and the East need not include it. Indeed, it is no sin to confess the same truth using different words.

    Thomas
     
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  11. Lowly Layman

    Lowly Layman Well-Known Member

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    Well said Thomas!
     
  12. Cranmer's Crosier

    Cranmer's Crosier Member Anglican

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    That'll preach Thomas
     
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  13. Botolph

    Botolph Well-Known Member

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    https://app.emaze.com/@ALCQRZFZ/un-change-the-creed

    The link is to a short summary presentation of some of my thinking. For the moment I have stopped using it for myself, which at least lets me think about it. I trust I am not falling into heresy, I believe that Augustine and Aquinas both suggest that the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father and the Son, so long as we understand that always the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father, and sometimes from the Father and the Son, and not from the Son alone.

    Thank you people for you many thoughts. I have come to the feeling that we have marginally shifted our understanding of the word 'and' and as a result of that it has taken on more of a sense of boolean logic to the common mind. As a result it is possible that the filioque whist technically not incorrect could mislead people into a concept of Trinity that is hierarchical rather than egalitarian.