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« on: November 05, 2005, 04:25:08 PM »

I have a question regarding the Filioque.  According to St. Thomas,  the Holy Spirit proceeding from the Father and the Son ( http://www.newadvent.org/summa/103602.htm) means the same thing as proceeding from the Father through the Son (http://www.newadvent.org/summa/103603.htm)

Can anyone offer any thoughts on this?

Thank you.
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« Reply #1 on: November 05, 2005, 07:21:31 PM »

That's exactly right.....which is why a re-assessment of the "hereticalness" of the Filioque is long overdue.
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« Reply #2 on: November 05, 2005, 07:39:32 PM »

Can anyone offer any thoughts on this?

Thomas Aquinas is avoiding the real issue by his usual play on words, and avoiding mentioning uncomfortable realities. When he says : "Therefore, because the Son receives from the Father that the Holy Ghost proceeds from Him, it can be said that the Father spirates the Holy Ghost through the Son, or that the Holy Ghost proceeds from the Father through the Son, which has the same meaning." - what he fails to mention is the difference between the Eternal Procession of the Holy Spirit from the Father, and the Temporal Procession of the Holy Spirit through the Son. These two Processions are most certainly not "the same", nor does Temporal have "the same meaning" as Eternal as he claims.
What we have here is yet another post-schism Latin "theologian" trying to conjure God up out of an equation.
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« Reply #3 on: November 05, 2005, 09:03:37 PM »

Actually it would help to read a littler further in the Summa where he claims precisely the heresy the Orthodox accused the Latins of holding. 

http://www.newadvent.org/summa/103604.htm

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« Reply #4 on: November 05, 2005, 09:43:13 PM »

That's exactly right.....which is why a re-assessment of the "hereticalness" of the Filioque is long overdue.

Mind telling us why you use a custom title that states 'Hatred of God'!  If you have such a hatred for our creator why are you here?

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« Reply #5 on: November 05, 2005, 10:20:39 PM »

actually, it says "HATED...not hatred" (it's the phrase Chalcedon used to designate Dioscoros).....it's supposed to be a joke
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« Reply #6 on: November 06, 2005, 12:31:32 AM »

drewmeister,

I think George answered your question well, this is really an issue that has to do with a distinction that we Orthodox make and the Catholics don't seem to recognize. When speaking of God, we differentiate between the Divine Essence and the Divine economy. This is actually how we reconcile seemingly contradictory statements, such as someone saying that God is unknowable, and then on the other hand someone saying that they understood the will of God. Fwiw, if you haven't gotten a chance to read it yet, The Mystagogy of the Holy Spirit by St. Photius covers mosts of the Orthodox points on the matter (that webpage goes down a lot, so you might have to try it a few different times if you want to read it).
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« Reply #7 on: November 06, 2005, 12:58:32 AM »

drewmeister,

I think George answered your question well, this is really an issue that has to do with a distinction that we Orthodox make and the Catholics don't seem to recognize. When speaking of God, we differentiate between the Divine Essence and the Divine economy. This is actually how we reconcile seemingly contradictory statements, such as someone saying that God is unknowable, and then on the other hand someone saying that they understood the will of God. Fwiw, if you haven't gotten a chance to read it yet, The Mystagogy of the Holy Spirit by St. Photius covers mosts of the Orthodox points on the matter (that webpage goes down a lot, so you might have to try it a few different times if you want to read it).

The problem arises when you encounter RC's who claim that St Photios's explication of RC teaching is incorrect, and hence his anti-filioque arguments are invalid.  When RC's say our whole anti-filioquism is based on OUR misunderstanding of what they mean, that makes one think (of course the question I think of immediately is why do they explain what they mean so poorly, that we would "misunderstand" for 1000 years?) Then again the fathers of the Council of Blachernae superceed St Photios's teaching as that council, held to repudiate Lyons, in 1285, and from my reading of their Tomos, they understood RC teaching on the subject well and had a much more comprehensive response to filioquism.

But I guess the point of my rambling is that I think we need to make sure that we don't just become controversialists, as if polemics are disproven we would then have no foundation.  If we are careful with our criticisms we will fare better, ITSM, and if we misundestand any parts of our opponents' position, we will still have a solid foundation.

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« Reply #8 on: November 06, 2005, 01:47:39 AM »

Very good points, and much more coherent than a ramble Smiley
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« Reply #9 on: November 06, 2005, 07:46:00 AM »

As ozgeorge said, there must be a distinction made between the Holy Spirit's eternal procession in His ontological intra-Trinitarian relationship with the Father, and His temporal procession in the economy of our salvation. I've heard Catholics argue the "semantic misunderstanding" theory, claiming that this latter understanding of the Holy Spirit's procession is what the filioque is actually intended to convey. I have not researched the issue sufficiently to know whether such can plausibly be argued, however what I do know is that in the context of the creed itself, the original statement concerns the Holy Spirit's eternal procession from the Father, and thus read in this creedal context, the filioque can only be understood as referring to the intra-Trinitarian relationship between Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. If however, we were to concede that temporal procession is what was intended regardless, then we must also concede to the fact that Catholics not only attempted to tamper with the divinely inspired content of the creed, but its divinely inspired original meaning also - which really only escalates the already severest crime of the matter.

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« Reply #10 on: November 06, 2005, 08:39:32 AM »

Simply put: The Filiioque dosnt belong in the Nicean Creed.  The councils sealed the Creed in it's original form.  If the Filioque is correct then lets have another council to debate it.  But until then no Filioque.

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« Reply #11 on: November 06, 2005, 09:03:39 AM »

Simply put: The Filiioque dosnt belong in the Nicean Creed.ÂÂ  

I agree, but it can't just be left at that.
The Fathers of Orthodoxy debated and answered this question long and hard, and we have their words- St. Photios, St. Mark of Ephesus, St. Gregory Palamas....etc.
Rome thinks we are provincial nobodies with a less formed theology than they....and if we keep saying no to the Filioque simply because "it doesn't belong"- we only reinforce that idea.
Every Orthodox Christian has a duty to understand their faith and what the mindset of the Fathers is, and to be ready to answer when people ask.
"Because we say so" is no answer.
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« Reply #12 on: November 07, 2005, 06:19:58 AM »


I think George answered your question well, this is really an issue that has to do with a distinction that we Orthodox make and the Catholics don't seem to recognize. When speaking of God, we differentiate between the Divine Essence and the Divine economy.


Because Augustinian theology is grounded in neoplatonism, I don't think it is possible for them to make such a distinction. For Catholics, God is "simple" to the point where not even His attributes or actions can be considered as apart from His essence.

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« Reply #13 on: November 08, 2005, 09:18:15 AM »

....and if we keep saying no to the Filioque simply because "it doesn't belong"- we only reinforce that idea.
Every Orthodox Christian has a duty to understand their faith and what the mindset of the Fathers is, and to be ready to answer when people ask.
"Because we say so" is no answer.

I have yet to see any any rational demonstration as to why the Filioque is metaphysically askew.  I have only seen: "Cuz that's not what the Fathers said!".    Please demonstrate the ontological danger in saying that the Holy Spirit proceeds from both the Father and the Son.
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« Reply #14 on: November 08, 2005, 09:23:19 AM »

I have yet to see any any rational demonstration as to why the Filioque is metaphysically askew.  I have only seen: "Cuz that's not what the Fathers said!".  ÃƒÆ’‚  Please demonstrate the ontological danger in saying that the Holy Spirit proceeds from both the Father and the Son.

There have been several books and articles written on the subject.  At least two have been referenced here: Aristeides Papadakis's "Crisis in Byzantium" (SVS Press) which I highly recommend, and St Photios's "Mystagogy..."

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« Reply #15 on: November 08, 2005, 09:25:03 AM »

ÂÂ  Please demonstrate the ontological danger in saying that the Holy Spirit proceeds from both the Father and the Son.

Please read the thread.

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« Reply #16 on: November 08, 2005, 09:32:12 AM »

There have been several books and articles written on the subject.  At least two have been referenced here: Aristeides Papadakis's "Crisis in Byzantium" (SVS Press) which I highly recommend, and St Photios's "Mystagogy..."

If all we did was throw a bunch of book references at each other, then forums such as this would be redundant and non-existent.  Now, let me repeat myself: please demonstrate the metaphysical danger in stating that the Holy Spirit proceeds from both the Father and the Son.
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« Reply #17 on: November 08, 2005, 09:55:28 AM »

Thomas Aquinas is avoiding the real issue by his usual play on words, and avoiding mentioning uncomfortable realities. When he says : "Therefore, because the Son receives from the Father that the Holy Ghost proceeds from Him, it can be said that the Father spirates the Holy Ghost through the Son, or that the Holy Ghost proceeds from the Father through the Son, which has the same meaning." - what he fails to mention is the difference between the Eternal Procession of the Holy Spirit from the Father, and the Temporal Procession of the Holy Spirit through the Son. These two Processions are most certainly not "the same", nor does Temporal have "the same meaning" as Eternal as he claims.
What we have here is yet another post-schism Latin "theologian" trying to conjure God up out of an equation.
-------Is this the one?  All I see is a demonstration as to why the economic double procession and the theological double procession differ in content.  I see no demonstration as to why the latter should be damaging to the faith.
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« Reply #18 on: November 08, 2005, 10:05:50 AM »

All I see is a demonstration as to why the economic double procession and the theological double procession differ in content.  I see no demonstration as to why the latter should be damaging to the faith.
If that's what you see, then you haven't looked very hard, nor do you understand what you are talking about. There is no such thing as "the economic double procession" nor "the theological double procession". I think you are trying to use big words beyond your ken.
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« Reply #19 on: November 08, 2005, 10:19:41 AM »

A theological double procession would be the procession, from all eternity, of the Holy Spirit from both the Father and the Son.  An economic double procession would be the procession of the Holy Spirit, in time, from the Father and, in time, (by Christ's breathing on the disciples) from the Son.
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« Reply #20 on: November 08, 2005, 10:24:58 AM »

A theological double procession would be the procession, from all eternity, of the Holy Spirit from both the Father and the Son.ÂÂ  An economic double procession would be the procession of the Holy Spirit, in time, from the Father and, in time, (by Christ's breathing on the disciples) from the Son.

Not in any theological treatise, essay, homily, catechism or any other text I've ever read. Who's writings have you based this on?
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« Reply #21 on: November 08, 2005, 10:27:46 AM »

I'm not saying they're actually true.  I am just giving out terms and definitions for further discussion of their veracity or lack thereof.
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« Reply #22 on: November 08, 2005, 10:38:19 AM »

I'm not saying they're actually true.ÂÂ  I am just giving out terms and definitions for further discussion of their veracity or lack thereof.

So, you make up non-existent terms which hold meaning only for you and expect people to be able to dialogue with you about them?

Have a look at this:
http://www.google.com.au/search?hl=en&q=%22theological+double+procession%22+&meta=
Do you see the bit that says: "Your search - "theological double procession" - did not match any documents"?ÂÂ  That means that no one else in the world knows what you are talking about.
It's a bit like making what you think to be a joke and no one laughs.
So instead of living in your own head and talking at people, why not try talking with people. The only two things required for this are:
(1) Respect for others, and
(2) Speaking a common language (as opposed to making up words and phrases for yourself).

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« Reply #23 on: November 08, 2005, 10:48:14 AM »

If all we did was throw a bunch of book references at each other, then forums such as this would be redundant and non-existent.ÂÂ  Now, let me repeat myself: please demonstrate the metaphysical danger in stating that the Holy Spirit proceeds from both the Father and the Son.

I'm not throwing references at you.  But I think that sometimes these issues are quite complex, and it helps if one has read certain books before engaging in discussion.

I am not so much concerned about the metaphysical danger in stating that per se, but am rather more concerned with the fact that the filioque does not describe God as he has revealed himself to us, and hence the soteriological danger is that we may have a wrong conception of God and hence our theosis might be hampered.  On a practical level, having the idea that the Spirit proceeds from both the Father and the Son lead some to posit that he is the bond of love between the two.  This in the end depersonalizes the Spirit and also leads to some strange ideas about the role of the Holy Spirit.  It also leads some to strange ideas about a husband and wife giving birth to children as somehow imaging the proceeding of the Spirit, which is more dangerous for those not theologically versed.  I think any deviation from what we know about God--which is only what he has revealed to us--is dangerous in all aspects.

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« Reply #24 on: November 08, 2005, 10:54:36 AM »

I think it is readily apparent what I am referring to.  The Son breathed the Holy Spirit onto His disciples.  This was the Holy Spirit proceeding from the Father through Son, economically ("dispensationally").  The theological (used to differentiate from "economic") procession is precisely what is meant by the Filioque...i.e. that the Holy Spirit proceeds eternally from both the Father and the Son.  I think every theological circle is quite familiar with the idea that the word "theological", strictly speaking, is meant "that denoting or describing the inner relations of the Holy Trinity".
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« Reply #25 on: November 08, 2005, 10:58:07 AM »

Anastasios: but you would agree that the Holy Spirit rests on the Son, would you not?
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« Reply #26 on: November 08, 2005, 11:12:27 AM »

The theological (used to differentiate from "economic") procession is precisely what is meant by the Filioque
According to whom (other than yourself)?

I think every theological circle is quite familiar with the idea that the word "theological", strictly speaking, is meant "that denoting or describing the inner relations of the Holy Trinity".
Well, you've just proved yourself false. If "every theological circle" recognises that "theological" denotes "the inner relations of the Holy Trinity" then the only ÂÂ  "theological circle" that could possibly exist is the Holy Trinity itself.

Remember what I said about making up words and definitions and the need for a common language? Try this: http://dictionary.reference.com/search?q=Theological

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« Reply #27 on: November 08, 2005, 11:22:38 AM »

That's the worst logic I've ever heard.  So if I say, "We are having geometry discussion", then you would insist that the discussion itself is somehow made up of circles, rhomboids, and the like? :-  If I say "I am a mechanically inclined person", then you would insist that I'm saying that I'm somehow made up of gears and pulleys and cam-shafts?  Don't be so obtuse.  I think it is quite obvious that when I used the phrase "theological circle", I meant a circle which discusses or analyzes "that denoting or describing the inner relations of the Holy Trinity"....just as much as saying that a circle of mechanics is one which analyzes or discusses the ins and outs of mechanics....not that the circle itself somehow possesses the qualities that are being discussed.
 
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« Reply #28 on: November 08, 2005, 11:25:18 AM »

I think it is quite obvious that when I used the phrase "theological circle", I meant a circle which discusses or analyzes "that denoting or describing the inner relations of the Holy Trinity"....just as much as saying that a circle of mechanics is one which analyzes or discusses the ins and outs of mechanics....not that the circle itself somehow possesses the qualities that are being discussed.
So Jews can't have "theological circles"?
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« Reply #29 on: November 08, 2005, 11:28:55 AM »

Anyone familiar with the term "sophistry"?
Some good examples in this thread...

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« Reply #30 on: November 08, 2005, 11:33:39 AM »

[quote author=Αριστοκλής link=topic=7517.msg97888#msg97888 date=1131463735]
Anyone familiar with the term "sophistry"?
Some good examples in this thread...
[/quote]

Not really....a sophist argument, though fallacious, is at least plausible. Wink
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« Reply #31 on: November 08, 2005, 11:58:45 AM »

I have yet to see any any rational demonstration as to why the Filioque is metaphysically askew. I have only seen: "Cuz that's not what the Fathers said!". Please demonstrate the ontological danger in saying that the Holy Spirit proceeds from both the Father and the Son.

The Father is the fountainhead and source of the Trinity; His Will is the will of the Trinity, which the Son and Spirit have aligned themselves into; if the Spirit can proceed in His Essence from the Son, then the Son is also a Father or Predecessor, which is outside of the definition of His relationship within the Trinity; only the Father is "Father" and has Father-ness; only the Son is "Son" and has Sonship; and only the Spirit is "Spirit" and proceeds from the fountainhead, the "Father," Who is the only one from Whom the Spirit can proceed.

By saying that, in His divine essence, the Spirit can proceed from the Son as from the Father, then we attempt to redefine the second person of the Trinity, in that we change the nature of our understanding of His Sonship.  The Fathers, and the consciousness of the Church, have not seen revealed to us any indication of an understanding of the Son's Sonship that is different that what they have expounded.  And there is no indication in scripture of the eternal procession of the Spirit from the Son (not to say that the scripture is the final word, but I just want to point out that it doesn't support the theology either).
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« Reply #32 on: November 08, 2005, 12:13:53 PM »

Well said, and your patience puts me to shame cleveland.
If someone can't see the "ontological danger" of believing something which isn't true, I just give up on them.
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« Reply #33 on: November 08, 2005, 12:26:39 PM »

Beavis,

You are free to discuss your opinions in all matters, however name calling (obtuse) and comments such as "I take pity on you that Satan has..." are not welcome.  This is generally a very laid back site (and atmosphere), but even if you intended those comments to be amusing, they are offensive and contrary to the spirit and rules of the board.

Thank you.
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« Reply #34 on: November 08, 2005, 12:41:29 PM »

The Father is the fountainhead and source of the Trinity; His Will is the will of the Trinity, which the Son and Spirit have aligned themselves into; if the Spirit can proceed in His Essence from the Son, then the Son is also a Father or Predecessor,

What about being a Predecessor necessarily makes one a Father?  Is it not perhaps possible that the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Son  by a dispensational allowance on the Father's part.  This would permit speaking of the Holy Spirit's procession from both the Father and the Son, while yet maintaining the ontological primacy of the Father's "fountain-ness".  If we say that the Father spirates the Holy Spirit, and that the Son returns this Spirit back to the Father out of love, then the Father's spiration still holds primacy over that of the Son, and yet nevertheless the Holy Spirit still proceeds (albeit in a somewhat secondary way) from the Son.

By saying that, in His divine essence, the Spirit can proceed from the Son as from the Father, then we attempt to redefine the second person of the Trinity, in that we change the nature of our understanding of His Sonship.
 change in what way?

ÂÂ  
The Fathers, and the consciousness of the Church, have not seen revealed to us any indication of an understanding of the Son's Sonship that is different that what they have expounded.

At best, this is merely an argument from silence.  At worst, this is simply another example of Byzantine-elitism whereby we simply ignore the Latin Fathers up to the year 1054.  Remember, they still were our Fathers.

And there is no indication in scripture of the eternal procession of the Spirit from the Son (not to say that the scripture is the final word, but I just want to point out that it doesn't support the theology either).

Another argument from silence.  Neither does the Scripture explicitly deny that the Spirit proceeds from the Son.  Scripture doesn't explicitly affirm a lot of things.  For example, where in Scripture do you find  an explicit demonstration that the Holy Spirit is an hypostasis in itself, and not simply a mode of either the Father's or Son's being (not that I believe this.  I affirm the hypostaticness and consubstantiality of the Spirit for the sake of Tradition....not the sake of Scripture, for you won't find it in there)?

I feel like I'm running in circles.  I ask you guys what the metaphysical danger is in affirming the Filioque, and you give me more arguments from authority.  You also seem to come to non-sequitor conclusions as to what affirming the Filioque might lead to.  I'm not interested in what it can lead to.  Whether or not the Filioque can lead to some conclusion is neither rationally demonstrable nor empirically verifiable.  I want to know what affirming the Filioque actually does......and HOW it actually does this.
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« Reply #35 on: November 08, 2005, 12:58:03 PM »

Beavis, please look back through the thread to see how it should have been without all your added "cuteness". In the future I won't be bothered cleaning up after you and will simply put you on moderated status.

John
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« Reply #36 on: November 08, 2005, 01:00:29 PM »

 I ask you guys what the metaphysical danger is in affirming the Filioque, and you give me more arguments from authority.
What would you like us to do? Make it up as we go along? Invent new doctrines and terms to describe them?
If something doesn't exist, it doesn't exist. If God hasn't revealed something about Himself, we can't just invent concepts about Him.

You also seem to come to non-sequitor conclusions as to what affirming the Filioque might lead to.  I'm not interested in what it can lead to.
That's not what you said earlier when you wrote:
Please demonstrate the ontological danger in saying that the Holy Spirit proceeds from both the Father and the Son.

 I want to know what affirming the Filioque actually does......and HOW it actually does this.
Anastasios and cleveland both answerwed this here and here. You just don't listen because you monologue rather than dialogue.
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« Reply #37 on: November 08, 2005, 01:11:37 PM »

I read them.  I still see them as being opinions as to why the Filioque could be dangerous.  Either that or I still see non-sequitor conclusions:  HOW does affirming the Filioque necessarily make the Son a Father (I believe I offered an "escape route" out of that conclusion in my above post)?  WHY is defining the Holy Spirit as a "love bond" necessarily dangerous?

And you don't seriously think that all of our doctrines were laid in stone in the first century, do you?  Doctrine develops and evolves...plain and simple. 

As a matter of fact, I see a certain aesthetic value in affirming that the Son returns the Spirit back to the Father.  Otherwise we are led to believe that the Son is a "sponge".  Or....if we say that the Holy Spirit doesn't proceed to anybody (e.g. the Son), then the Holy Spirit seems to sit in limbo, with no purpose at all.  There has to be some relation of the Holy Spirit to the Son.  Otherwise, we seem to have a split Trinity, whereby one hypostasis seems to have no connection with another.  This would seem odd, to say the least.
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« Reply #38 on: November 08, 2005, 01:12:16 PM »

What about being a Predecessor necessarily makes one a Father?  Is it not perhaps possible that the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Son  by a dispensational allowance on the Father's part.  This would permit speaking of the Holy Spirit's procession from both the Father and the Son, while yet maintaining the ontological primacy of the Father's "fountain-ness".  If we say that the Father spirates the Holy Spirit, and that the Son returns this Spirit back to the Father out of love, then the Father's spiration still holds primacy over that of the Son, and yet nevertheless the Holy Spirit still proceeds (albeit in a somewhat secondary way) from the Son. 

It is entirely His nature as a Predecessor and Father that distinguishes the Father from the Son; the only way we can distinguish the persons of the Trinity is in their relationships to one another; thus, when the filioque redefines the nature of the relationships, we redefine our understanding of the Trinity from how it has been revealed to us.  The Son is ontologically Son; He is not Father, or a Progenitor to the Spirit; if He was, then He would possess a similar role to the Father, and thus break the bond of unity in diversity that characterizes the love of the Trinity.  For it is in their perfect love and unity despite their ontological differences that characterizes the Unity of One God in Three persons.  Thus, the Son cannot be Father or Progenitor to the Spirit; if the Spirit is returned to the Father through the Son, then we are not speaking of His Source of being, but rather His activity in eternity, a different argument.

This idea of a "dispensational allowance" is strange; the Son has no need or ambition to duplicate the role of the Father as the Source; therefore, "dispensational allowance" would be unnecessary.  Even if you argue the Son is the agent of the procession of the Spirit (as He is the agent of the creation of the world, according to Orthodox theology) - the being still comes from the Father, and thus the agent used does not contribute from His own being, nor does he add to the being, but instead acts with the being that proceeds from the Father in eternity. 

Anyway, the major argument that I would have against this line of thinking (that the Son is the agent of the procession) is this: the action of the Son through time has been interaction and deification of humanity; He was the agent of Creation because He was willing to undergo self-limitation to participate in the act; this was His role, His job, as a member of the Trinity performing the will of the Trinity.  He then again limited Himself to enter His very own creation and take on flesh.  And He again limited Himself to allow Himself to become subject to death on the Cross as the incarnate Son. 

But the nature of the Trinity, the begetting of the Son and procession of the Spirit are in the realm of God the Father; it was His nature and will that the Son be begotten and the Spirit proceed.

In any case, it can also be difficult to specifically say that the Son could have been the source or co-source through which the Spirit proceeds since it introduces the possibility of temporal difference in the actions of begetting and proceeding; can we really say that the Son was begotten before the Spirit proceeded in order to participate in the procession of the Spirit?  Is that really possible before the creation of time?

We have to be careful as to how technical we want to become when speaking of the procession of the Spirit; it is hazardous to attempt to over-clarify things that cannot be contained by human logic and thought.

 
At best, this is merely an argument from silence.  At worst, this is simply another example of Byzantine-elitism whereby we simply ignore the Latin Fathers up to the year 1054.  Remember, they still were our Fathers. 

No elitism here, the Fathers in the West (that I've read) make no claims of an essential procession of the Spirit from the Son.  Even if you were to find one that does, it doesn't mean he is even close to right: if one guy goes agaisnt the rest of the tradition, it's safe to say he's off-base.  We have had this reaction in the past to our own Eastern Fathers as well - thus, the love/hate relationship with Origen.

Another argument from silence.  Neither does the Scripture explicitly deny that the Spirit proceeds from the Son.  Scripture doesn't explicitly affirm a lot of things.  For example, where in Scripture do you find  an explicit demonstration that the Holy Spirit is an hypostasis in itself, and not simply a mode of either the Father's or Son's being (not that I believe this.  I affirm the hypostaticness and consubstantiality of the Spirit for the sake of Tradition....not the sake of Scripture, for you won't find it in there)? 

I'm not going to spend the time re-hashing the Orthodox arguments regarding Modalistic Monarchiansim; the Fathers answered the questions better than I, and they used the Tradition and Scripture to do so.

I feel like I'm running in circles.  I ask you guys what the metaphysical danger is in affirming the Filioque, and you give me more arguments from authority.  You also seem to come to non-sequitor conclusions as to what affirming the Filioque might lead to.  I'm not interested in what it can lead to.  Whether or not the Filioque can lead to some conclusion is neither rationally demonstrable nor empirically verifiable.  I want to know what affirming the Filioque actually does......and HOW it actually does this. 
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« Reply #39 on: November 08, 2005, 01:18:12 PM »

As a matter of fact, I see a certain aesthetic value in affirming that the Son returns the Spirit back to the Father. Otherwise we are led to believe that the Son is a "sponge". Or....if we say that the Holy Spirit doesn't proceed to anybody (e.g. the Son), then the Holy Spirit seems to sit in limbo, with no purpose at all. There has to be some relation of the Holy Spirit to the Son. Otherwise, we seem to have a split Trinity, whereby one hypostasis seems to have no connection with another. This would seem odd, to say the least.

We say that the Spirit joins the Father and Son in Love - but this makes no statement about essential procession because there is no essential procession from the Son.  If the Son returns the Spirit to the Father in Love, then that is an activity of the Spirit, not an ontological change.  Anyway, saying that one sends and the other returns gets too close to placing the Trinity into the constraints of time and space; the Spirit is present in all places and fills all things.  There is no time and space separation of the members of the Trinity since they exist out of these constraints.

And aesthetic values can't govern the Church - there is something aesthetically displeasing about the Incarnate Son of God dying in the most cruel manner imaginable, and then Resurrecting for only a handful to see.
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« Reply #40 on: November 08, 2005, 01:29:44 PM »

if the Spirit is returned to the Father through the Son, then we are not speaking of His Source of being, but rather His activity in eternity, a different argument.

but this is what I always thought the Filioque to mean....Jakub, where are you?Huh

This idea of a "dispensational allowance" is strange; the Son has no need or ambition to duplicate the role of the Father as the Source; therefore, "dispensational allowance" would be unnecessary.ÂÂ  Even if you argue the Son is the agent of the procession of the Spirit (as He is the agent of the creation of the world, according to Orthodox theology) - the being still comes from the Father, and thus the agent used does not contribute from His own being, nor does he add to the being, but instead acts with the being that proceeds from the Father in eternity.ÂÂ

Precisely.ÂÂ  But this is what I've always thought the Filioque meant.ÂÂ  If you mean that the filioque precisely implies that the Father and the Son are co-eval, and of ontologically equivalent primacy, then of course, this is wrong.ÂÂ  This would not only confuse the roles of the respective Persons, but the Persons THEMSELVES.ÂÂ  I would definitely agree with that.ÂÂ  If THAT'S what the Filioque meant this whole time, then I give that a big ole "anathema".

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« Reply #41 on: November 08, 2005, 01:46:24 PM »

Well said, and your patience puts me to shame cleveland.
If someone can't see the "ontological danger" of believing something which isn't true, I just give up on them.

I don't know if that many of us can see the ontological anything for that matter.  It's a big word that pretty much needs a big neon sign definition at the beginning of any discussion using the word.  Same goes for eschatalogical, soteriological and perhaps others.  I think have finally (after being told what it means) gotten the definitions down, but the concept of ontological especially, still confuses me.
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« Reply #42 on: November 08, 2005, 01:48:37 PM »

Thats because they're Greek words  Wink
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« Reply #43 on: November 08, 2005, 03:00:58 PM »

It is entirely His nature as a Predecessor and Father that distinguishes the Father from the Son; the only way we can distinguish the persons of the Trinity is in their relationships to one another; thus, when the filioque redefines the nature of the relationships, we redefine our understanding of the Trinity from how it has been revealed to us.

I've been reluctant to participate in this because I don't really have an Anglican basis to work from, but I must object to this statement.

We have the distinctions between the divine persons as direct revelations of scripture, and particularly through what Jesus says. We also have the basic relationships as direct revelation. The filioque is clearly exposition beyond what scripture says, but so is any supposed consequence to the other relationships. Nobody who is Orthodox can legitimately denounce such exposition per se, because to do so would be to renounce Christology in its entirety.

Quote
The Son is ontologically Son; He is not Father, or a Progenitor to the Spirit; if He was, then He would possess a similar role to the Father, and thus break the bond of unity in diversity that characterizes the love of the Trinity.ÂÂ  For it is in their perfect love and unity despite their ontological differences that characterizes the Unity of One God in Three persons.ÂÂ  Thus, the Son cannot be Father or Progenitor to the Spirit; if the Spirit is returned to the Father through the Son, then we are not speaking of His Source of being, but rather His activity in eternity, a different argument.

This doesn't follow, and indeed is descending into "proof by jargon". The very first clause, without the jargon, says that "the Son is with respect to His very existence Son." I am inclined to reject this out of hand, if only because the word "son" implies a relationship to another, as does "father". It is bizarre to say that the names the persons as given by Jesus/scripture somehow limitÂÂ  or even fully express their nature, but that seems to be the only possible justification for the ontological claim. Names do not work that way, and there is plenty of testimony in scripture that the divine names do not work that way.

What is more striking to me is that the argument has here taken a turn that I sort of expected, but which nonetheless is not to Orthodoxy's advantage. It should be sufficient, in refuting the filioque, to demonstrate that the doctrine cannot be properly proven. But instead we are now being presented with positive arguments for a contrary position: essentially, that we can change the creed to say "who proceeds from the Father, not the son." This is the same form of statement as the filioque, and deserves the same level and kind of critique. The burden of proof shifts to those who would propose such a theory.

At any rate, we now get into trouble for using temporal words for eternal things:

Quote
In any case, it can also be difficult to specifically say that the Son could have been the source or co-source through which the Spirit proceeds since it introduces the possibility of temporal difference in the actions of begetting and proceeding; can we really say that the Son was begotten before the Spirit proceeded in order to participate in the procession of the Spirit?ÂÂ  Is that really possible before the creation of time?

The normal meaning of "action" implies the passage of time, so when you explicitly deny that implication-- which you are in saying "before all time"-- you have to give up all the temporal language. If the begetting is timeless, and the procession is timeless (and strictly speaking, this latter isn't stated in the creed), then it follows that the predication of one upon the other is also timeless.

Which brings up another question (which someone else already sort of asked): what does "proceed" mean, ordinarily, in Greek?
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« Reply #44 on: November 08, 2005, 03:26:46 PM »

kudos, Keble.  You've expressed what i've been meaning to express, except much more eloquently.  However, when cleveland said that the "Son is ontologically the Son", I don't think he meant that the Son "is in His own very existence Son".  I think he simply meant that the Son, at the level of essence,is Son.  It's absurd to speak of the existence of something, in itself, as abstracted from all other reality.  This is because there is no such thing as something that is abstracted from all other reality.  In fact, to even speak of something, you've already made a metaphysical connection between what is spoken and the speaker,....otherwise you wouldn't be able to speak about it Wink.

I also disagree with your position that an "action" necessarily implies temporality.  I think what you mean by this is that "actions" necessarily imply change....for that is what temporality is.  But then how could we speak of God's creation of the universe?  The creation exists in time.  But the act of creating itself did not happen in time.  It happened from all eternity.  But this does not necessarily put this "action" on the same ontological level as the generation and procession.  Some would conclude that that's the case.  This is why it is permissible to speak of "logical" time.  The generation and procession "precede" the creation logically.  But they don't "precede" it temporally, for there is no time in God.
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