Per Filium

Discussion in 'Pneumatology' started by py3ak, Apr 10, 2014.

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  1. py3ak

    py3ak They're stalling and plotting against me Staff Member

    I have seen the statement made that John of Damascus suggested that the Spirit proceeds from the Father through the Son. This idea is sometimes promoted as a way for East and West to come to agreement about the Filioque. I have two questions:

    1. Where did John say this? Or is it something deduced by someone else from his writings?

    2. Do you think the formulation works?
     
  2. Phil D.

    Phil D. Puritan Board Sophomore

  3. py3ak

    py3ak They're stalling and plotting against me Staff Member

    Thanks, Phil, that's very helpful. It looks like it's subsequent people who are applying John of Damascus to the Filioque question.
     
  4. Phil D.

    Phil D. Puritan Board Sophomore

    That would be my take as well. While the controversy over the Filioque certainly existed in JoD's day, it hadn't yet developed into the full-blown controversy that it became about a hundred years later.

    Although it [the doctrinal difference on the procession of the Holy Spirit] existed before the schism, it assumed a practical importance only in connection with the broader ecclesiastical and political conflict between the patriarch and the pope, between Constantinople and Rome. The first serious outbreak of this conflict took place after the middle of the ninth century, when Photius and Nicolas, two of the ablest representatives of the rival churches, came into collision. (P. Schaff, History of the Christian Church, 4.70)​
     
  5. Puritan Sailor

    Puritan Sailor Puritan Board Doctor

    Anselm makes the same kind of argument in "On the Procession of the Holy Spirit" (1102 AD), also in an attempt I think to reconcile East and West.
     
  6. py3ak

    py3ak They're stalling and plotting against me Staff Member

    Indeed, Phil, even in the West the Filioque was not universally used during John's time. It is interesting to see the variety of opinions about possible resolutions of the controversy. I am hoping to have time soon to look at Anselm of Havelberg's dialogues on the matter.

    That's interesting, Patrick, I'll take a look at that. Speaking of Anselm (of Canterbury), would it be fair to say that he is the first to use fides quaerens intellectum to mean demonstrating something by necessary reason as opposed to explaining the given data of revelation?
     
  7. Puritan Sailor

    Puritan Sailor Puritan Board Doctor

    Interesting question, Ruben. I don't know if Anselm was the first or just the one who made it popular. He may have just been working out explicitly what was implicit in Augustine. I noticed reading Anselm before (it's been a while now...) that he was very Augustinian in thinking. But I don't know enough about Anselm to answer more than that.
     
  8. py3ak

    py3ak They're stalling and plotting against me Staff Member

    He's clearly in Augustine's line. So far it's nothing precise, but there seems to be a difference in atmosphere reflected in Anselm's insistence on necessary reasons, as though he is more interested in the why rather whereas Augustine is more interested in the how. As I say, this is a rather vague impression, which is why I'm wondering if anyone else has gotten the same feeling.
     
  9. BayouHuguenot

    BayouHuguenot Puritan Board Doctor

    Depends on who interprets John of Dam. The Roman church is adamant that hypostatical mediation really means dual ordination, something the East will deny.

    I think John's statement gives the lie to later claims made by Photios, who said that all of the Eastern Fathers taught procession ex patre monou. Photios' claim is simply false.

    I think Damascene's statement is okay, but it will be interpreted differently by different communions.
     
  10. Peairtach

    Peairtach Puritan Board Doctor

    Is the "through the Son" designation in John of Damascus,etc,, in relation to the ontological Trinity or the economic (covenantal) Trinity or both? I think the Reformed would acknowledge that all spiritual benefits -which are encapsulated in the gift of the Holy Spirit - come to God's people through the Mediator, the Son.
     
  11. py3ak

    py3ak They're stalling and plotting against me Staff Member

    That's a difficult question to answer on the basis of this one work.

    The procession from the Father is no doubt ontological, since it is correlated to the generation of the Son and both are related to the derivation of existence. However it at least seems possible that "communicated through the Son" is with reference to us.
     
  12. Phil D.

    Phil D. Puritan Board Sophomore

    JoD makes his meaning clearer in chapter 12 of the same work.

    God then is called Mind and Reason and Spirit and Wisdom and Power, as the cause of these, and as immaterial, and maker of all, and omnipotent. And these names are common to the whole Godhead, whether affirmative or negative. And they are also used of each of the subsistences of the Holy Trinity in the very same and identical way and with their full significance. For when I think of one of the subsistences, I recognise it to be perfect God and perfect essence: but when I combine and reckon the three together, I know one perfect God. For the Godhead is not compound but in three perfect subsistences, one perfect indivisible and uncompound God. And when I think of the relation of the three subsistences to each other, I perceive that the Father is super-essential Sun, source of goodness, fathomless sea of essence, reason, wisdom, power, light, divinity: the generating and productive source of good hidden in it. He Himself then is mind, the depth of reason, begetter of the Word, and through the Word the Producer of the revealing Spirit. And to put it shortly, the Father has no reason , wisdom, power, will , save the Son Who is the only power of the Father, the immediate cause of the creation of the universe: as perfect subsistence begotten of perfect subsistence in a manner known to Himself, Who is and is named the Son. And the Holy Spirit is the power of the Father revealing the hidden mysteries of His Divinity, proceeding from the Father through the Son in a manner known to Himself, but different from that of generation. Wherefore the Holy Spirit is the perfecter of the creation of the universe. All the terms, then, that are appropriate to the Father, as cause, source, begetter, are to be ascribed to the Father alone: while those that are appropriate to the caused, begotten Son, Word, immediate power, will, wisdom, are to be ascribed to the Son: and those that are appropriate to the caused, processional, manifesting, perfecting power, are to be ascribed to the Holy Spirit. The Father is the source and cause of the Son and the Holy Spirit: Father of the Son alone and producer of the Holy Spirit. The Son is Son, Word, Wisdom, Power, Image, Effulgence, Impress of the Father and derived from the Father. But the Holy Spirit is not the Son of the Father but the Spirit of the Father as proceeding from the Father. For there is no impulse without Spirit. And we speak also of the Spirit of the Son, not as through proceeding from Him, but as proceeding through Him from the Father. For the Father alone is cause.​
     
  13. MW

    MW Puritan Board Doctor

    It is difficult to draw conclusions where there is no clear distinction made between the intrinsic and the extrinsic works of the Trinity, and the extracts above intermingle intrinsic and extrinsic works of the Spirit. The phrase "through the Son" is quite appropriate in relation to creation and providence.

    I do not take "through the Son" to be an adequate explanation of the intrinsic property of the Holy Spirit. Two obvious reasons: (1) Intrinsically, it would still make Him a second Son; only now His Sonship would be owing in some sense to the first Son. (2) Extrinsically, as communicator of divine benefits we would not truly fellowship with the Son or receive a full Spirit of adoption if the Spirit is not the Spirit of the Son.

    On Augustine and Anselm, I also sense a greater emphasis on "necessity" in the latter which is not in the former.
     
  14. py3ak

    py3ak They're stalling and plotting against me Staff Member

    Thanks, Phil, that is clearer. The end of Chapter 8 obviously distinguishes "of," "from," and "through," but still speaks of through in very economic terms.

    Thank you, Matthew. Are you familiar with Richard of St. Victor's De Trinitate? Some of what he says about the Spirit is very similar, I think, to the points you make above; but he also adopts Anselm's approach of giving necessary reasons, in his case for the statements of the Athanasian Creed. The procedure is so curious I'm not sure I understand it, which is why I was wondering about antecedents.
     
  15. MW

    MW Puritan Board Doctor

    Ruben, My reading of Richard of St. Victor is not sufficient for me to comment. I think I recall correctly that he echoed the "love" argument for the Trinity. Is that an argument from necessity which is also found in Augustine and numerous others?

    There might be a very fine distinction between arguments from necessity which correlate to the a-priori and the a-posteriori. Is the necessity reasoned from cause to effect or from effect to cause?
     
  16. BayouHuguenot

    BayouHuguenot Puritan Board Doctor

    Photios said economical; I got the impression that most Fathers meant it ontological.
     
  17. py3ak

    py3ak They're stalling and plotting against me Staff Member

    He does argue from love, but also from blessedness and glory that there must be a plurality of persons in the godhead. The argument is that the denial of the plurality of persons involves the affirmation of something inconsistent with those postulates - and those postulates themselves arise from the fact that God is the highest good and absolutely perfect. In effect, I read him as saying that once you have said "highest good" you have also said "plurality of persons".
     
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