Friday, March 2, 2012

Drake Shelton's recent YouTube reflections on the Monarchy of God the Father and it's implications

In the following YouTube video, Drake Shelton, owner of the UNCREATED LIGHT blog and The King's Parlor website, has given us a excellent presentation of the Monarchy of God the Father (see THESE THREADS for some of my own reflections on this important issue)

Drake, in less than 16 minutes, has provided his viewers a concise and clear understanding of not only the theological issues at stake, but also the philosophical ones, by exposing the Neo-Platonism that lies behind the Latin/Western understanding of the doctrine of the Trinity.




[Alternate link to video: HERE]

ENJOY !!!


Grace and peace,

David

109 comments:

Ken said...

That was really deep; but also very intriguing and left me wanting to understand this whole thing better.

Thanks for posting this.

I will have to watch and listen several more times and look up words and cogitate on these things.

Ken said...

It seems to me the Allah of Islam is a monad. (single, alone, simple being)

I hope Drake will consider doing this again and not look down at the books he is reading from; and put the drawings on a power-point kind of presentation.

Is Drake Reformed or is he Eastern Orthodox ?

I thought Eastern Orthodoxy, RC, and Protestantism were all unified on the doctrine of the Trinity.

Ken said...

David ( or Drake),
What do you think of these two books?

Athanasius, by Peter J.Leithart

From Nicea to Chalcedon,
Francis Young and Andrew Teal.

David Waltz said...

Hello Ken,

So good to learn that you have been taking in Drake's excellent presentation. In your first reply, you wrote:

==That was really deep; but also very intriguing and left me wanting to understand this whole thing better.==

Me: Drake supplies the philosophical aspects concerning the doctrine of the monarchy of God the Father; in the threads that I linked in the first paragraph of my opening post, I provide the Biblical support for the doctrine.

In you second reply you posted:

==Is Drake Reformed or is he Eastern Orthodox ?==

Me: Reformed. In the link I provided to Drake's "The King's Parlor" (also in the opening paragraph), he states:

>>My name is Drake Shelton. I am a Scripturalist(Clarkian) Reformed Christian. I am a Scripturalist in Philosophy yet finding my heritage in the Scottish Covenanters of the 17th Century regarding their Theology of the Covenants, Puritan Worship the obligation of nations to proclaim Christ as King, and Systematic Theology in general. I must admit I have an obsession with Samuel Rutherford (The Covenanters) and Gordon Clark (Scripturalism). I have done a considerable amount of reading in the Eastern Tradition and though I retain my Westminster Soteriology, I believe the Original Nicene Creed to be the correct understanding of God.>>

==I thought Eastern Orthodoxy, RC, and Protestantism were all unified on the doctrine of the Trinity.==

Me: I have written at length on the differing forms of Trinitarian doctrine, and I am pretty sure you participated in a number of those threads; but yes, there are some very important differences between the EO and RCC, as well as between Protestants.

What Drake has done, is to provide simple and clear, yet very accurate, visual aid(s) to the understanding of the major difference between the 'traditional' Latin/Western understanding of the Trinity and the one which has had dominance in the EO 'tradition.'


Grace and peace,

David

David Waltz said...

Hello again Ken,

You posted:

==David ( or Drake),
What do you think of these two books?

Athanasius, by Peter J.Leithart

From Nicea to Chalcedon,
Francis Young and Andrew Teal.==

I do not have the first book, but it looks like a good portion of it is available via Google Books preview; I will try to read it later today.

As for the second, I own, and have read, the first edition (1983), but not the second (2010). It was my favorite treatment of this period until I read Hanson's monumental work, The Search for the Christian Doctrine of God which has about 3 times the material. (I notice that the second edition of Young's work is the same size as the first, 406 pages, so I don't think I will be purchasing it anytime soon.)


Grace and peace,

David

Dave Armstrong said...

Hi David,

Hope you are well.

You wrote in an earlier paper that you linked to above:

"the Bible makes some important distinctions between the One who called ό θεός and the one called θεός; between the ό θεός who begets, and the μονογενής θεός who is begotten; between the one termed "τοῦ μόνου θεοῦ" (John 5:44) and "τὸν μόνον ἀληθινὸν θεὸν" (John 17:3), and the one He sends. I also pointed out that only one person in the Bible is declared to be the "εἷς θεὸς" (and it is not Jesus)."

The Bible refers to Jesus as "the God" in some fashion at least five times:

John 20:28 Thomas said to Jesus (direct address): ho kurios mou kai ho theos mou, lit. “the Lord of me and the God of me”

Titus 2:13 “The great God and Savior”: tou megalou theou kai sōtēros hēmōn Christou Iēsou, lit. “the great God and Savior of us Christ Jesus.” Note: in 2 Peter 1:1 is the same grammatical construction (i.e., article-noun-kai-noun): tou theou hēmōn kai sōtēros Iēsou Christou, lit. “the God of us and Savior Jesus Christ (cf. 2 Pet. 1:11; 2:20; 3:2, 18; 2 Thess. 1:12; see Gk.)

Hebrews 1:8 “But of the Son He [the Father] says, “YOUR THRONE, O GOD IS FOREVER AND EVER. . . . ” (ho thronos sou ho theos, lit. “the throne of thee the God. . . . ”).

2 Peter 1:1 "The God and Savior, Jesus Christ: tou [“the”] theou [“God”] hēmōn kai [“and”] sōtēros [“Savior”] Iēsou Christou (lit., “The God of us and Savior, Jesus Christ”).

1 John 5:20 “And we know that the Son of God has come, and has given us understanding so that we may know Him who is true; and we are in Him who is true, in His Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God [ho alēthinos theos] and eternal life”. The JWs attempt to deny this reading by asserting that the pronoun houtos (“this one”) refers not to the Son, but to the Father—Jehovah. Even though the grammar is somewhat unclear, there are solid reasons that support the position of houtos referring to the Son. First, the closest antecedent to houtos is “Jesus Christ.” Second, although the Father is said to possess “life” (cf. John 5:26 and 6:57), just as the Son does (cf. John 1:4, 6:57, 1 John 5:11), “life” is never attributed to the Father in the NT, but it is to the Son in John 11:25 and 14:6.

From: http://christiandefense.org/jw_deity.htm#jesusisgod

Does this answer your objection (whatever it is you are objecting to)? If not, why?

You also wrote in a comment: "I personally believe in the monarchy of God the Father, which has its basis in the fact the He and He alone is the ultimate Archē of everything except, of course, Himself."

Jesus is also called arche in the NT as I learned 30 years ago in studying the heresies of JWs:

Revelation 3:14 . . . the beginning [arche] of God's creation.

In Rev 21:6 God the Father states about Himself: "I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning [arche] and the end." Jesus says the same of Himself in Rev 22:13: "I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning [arche] and the end." Rev 22:16 identifies the speaker as Jesus. In Rev 22:12 and 22:20, Jesus says He is coming "quickly," as indicated by 22:20: "come, Lord Jesus" (cf. Mt 16:27).

The Father and Son are also both called "the first and the last" (cf. Is 44:6 and Rev 1:17).

No difference at all. They are both creator and source of all things, as is stated elsewhere, too (Hebrews, Colossians), and both arche.

Why this is an issue at all with you or anyone who accepts biblical inspiration, is the mystery here.

In Him,

Dave

Dave Armstrong said...

Scripture also indicates (I think) that there is a sense in which the Father is subject to the Son:

John 16:15 (RSV) All that the Father has is mine; therefore I said that he will take what is mine and declare it to you.

John 16:23 In that day you will ask nothing of me. Truly, truly, I say to you, if you ask anything of the Father, he will give it to you in my name.

To say that only the Father is the "one God" is to demote Jesus and the Holy Spirit (and I thought that was the Orthodox gripe about us in the filioque dispute: that we supposedly do that.

If Jesus is not the "one God" and if the Holy Spirit is not the "one God" then what / who are they, pray tell? They are either God or not. Since God is one (monotheism), then if they are God, they are also "the one God." If they are not "the one God" they are not God. Thus, trinitarianism requires that they must be.

Whether Scripture specifically refers to them in that way is not required, since Scripture teaches that they have every attribute of God. In fact, Jesus has at least one attribute that His Father does not: He became a man, whereas the Father never did.

I think these sorts of discussions get so far into abstraction and unbiblical either/or fallacious thinking, neglecting biblical paradox and common sense and many relevant biblical passages, that they can become spiritually dangerous, not to mention, potentially lead one astray into various heresies.

Dave Armstrong said...

Here are a few examples of the Bible (RSV) referring to "one God" and then giving a definition of at least some attributes of what that means, and then applying the same to Jesus (thus by deduction, if Jesus has every quality applied directly to the "one God" then He, too, is the "one God"):

1 Corinthians 8:6 yet for us there is one God, the Father, from whom are all things and for whom we exist, and one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom are all things and through whom we exist.

Compare:

Colossians 1:16-17 for in him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or authorities -- all things were created through him and for him. [17] He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.

"for whom [the Father] we exist" = "all things were created . . . for him [the Son]."

We exist for the Father; all things (including us] are "for" Jesus. Same thing.

In both passages we are told that creation was "through" Jesus. This may sound lesser in some way until we realize that Col 1:16 seems to equate "through" and "for": "through him and for him". Since "for" is applied to both, then "through" doesn't prove any inferiority, since it appears to be equated with "for" or equal in importance, if we can speak in such a way.

Moreover, if "through" is seen in this way, that view collapses, since the same notion is also applied to God the Father:

Romans 11:36 For from him and through him and to him are all things.

Also, the notion of God "sustaining the universe" is applied both to the Father and the Son:

Acts 17:28 . . . `In him we live and move and have our being'; . . . [Father; cf. 1 Tim 6:13 w Jn 5:21]

Hebrews 1:3 . . . upholding the universe by his word of power. . . .

Here's another "one God" passage:

Ephesians 4:6 one God and Father of us all, who is above all and through all and in all.

Something quite similar to this is also said about Jesus:

Ephesians 1:22-23 . . . the church, [23] which is his body, the fulness of him who fills all in all.

Colossians 3:11 . . . Christ is all, and in all.

In short, we find that every attribute or characteristic of the Father is also used of the Son in Scripture (circumincession or perichoresis). I have documented this endlessly in my documentation of biblical proofs for the divinity of Jesus and for the Holy Trinity.

Cardinal Newman wrote in his book on the Arians:

"It is the clear declaration of Scripture, which we must receive without questioning, that the Son and Spirit are in the one God, and He in Them. . . . in naming the Father, we imply the Son and Spirit, whether They be named or not. Without this key, the language of Scripture is perplexed in the extreme. . . ."

Ken said...

In Drake's diagram,

The Father has two sections with a bunch of capital "I"s in them.

I gather that it means "I" as in subject, "I am" - and the split is between nature and will (commanding that creation take place, choosing to do things, etc.) .

He says that the Son is eternally generated from the nature of the Father. Ok, there is nothing contradictory there, it seems to me, from Protestantism nor RCC on the Trinity.

Drake keeps talking about the original Nicean Creed - but didn't the Eastern Orthodox themselves, the Cappadocian fathers - Gregory of Nyssa, Gregory of Naziansus, and Basil the Great - they were the very ones who directly influenced and oversaw the formulations that led to the 381 AD Council of Constantinople and that the Nicean Creed of today is actually the "Nicean-Constantinopitian" Creed. It is they, who are great theologians and saints of the EO church that developed the "three hypostasis" (three persons) of the Trinity to the fuller extent.

It seems Drake's main contention is with the filoque clause "through the Son", which was added into the Creed without consulting the E. Orthodox in 1054 AD and caused the formal split between east and west churches.

Drake makes the point that Augustine's Neo-Platonism from Plontinus, (what about his Manicheaism also ?) affected him.

David (Waltz) -
does that mean that we can say your Jehovah's Witness background had affected your demand for exact words in Scripture in order to believe a doctrine?

Ken said...

David (W):
Yes, I participated in a lot of those articles you linked to; except the first one in the series. (It was you and Eastern Orthodox readers, JNorman, Luka, and others)

Dave Armstrong has provided many verses on the Deity of Christ.

But the Orthodox do believe in the Deity of Christ.

The emphasis seems to be on trying to understand the "Monarchy" of God the Father. That the Father has a priority and beginning (But the Son is also Arche, as DA has pointed out; and even you agree that the Son is eternal - I looked back at our discussions and you agreed that the Son is eternally generated, and was the Word from all eternity, called Theos θεος (God) in John 1:1 and ho Theos ( ο θεος)
in John 20:28.

Since the Augustinian formula of "one substance" and "three persons" (from the Cappadocian fathers - Gregory of Nyssa, Gregory Naziansus, and Basil the Great) ALSO preserve a hierarchy of roles from all eternality - Scripture also indicates this in I Corinthians 11:3 - why do you make such a big deal out of this?

Protestants and RC also believe in the "economic Trinity" of subordination of the Son in role to the Father, etc.

We also believe in the three persons. Drake seems to say the Augustinian formula is "Neo-Platonism" and emphasis on a monad.

Yet, there is a clear teachings of hierarchy within the Trinity and the three persons - they love each other and know each other in eternity past, etc.


I don't understand how Drake can jump from a hierarchy within the Trinity and say the original Nicean Creed and Athanasius - was "three things in eternity" - yet jump to the hierarchical issues of the Papal doctrines, which were developed much, much later and as far as I can see, have no relation to the early church and the debates over the Trinitarian formulations to 451 AD.

Early Muslims did debate with the Eastern Orthodox - John of Damascus, Timothy the Nestorian, Al Kindy, etc.

But they just unjustly conquered them (Surah 9:29) and subjugated them to Dhimmi status later there was not any allowance for discussion or debate. They needed John of Damascus and others at the beginning because their knowledge of Greek language allowed the Muslims to relate to the conquered peoples. Once they translated Plato and Artistotle and Socrates and other scientific and medical and math texts from Greek into Arabic, the Arab unjust rulers had no more use for them; and then the Turks were hired as their palace guards and became their military force later and eventually, the Seljuks conquered the eastern part of Armenia and Antatolia up to near Constantinople and then after the Crusades, the Ottomans conquered the rest.

Maybe the lack of development of the doctrine of the Trinity and the harshness shown to the Monophysites in Egypt, Syria, and Armenia contributed to God allowing Islam to conquer most of the Eastern Orthodox lands?

The Muslims also conquered Greece for 500 years.

Response to that ?

Ken said...

I don't understand why Drake says,


"The Deity of Christ" is technically not a good term" -
but the Eastern Orthodox believe in the Deity of Christ - Athanasius fought for that doctrine.


I appreciate what Drake said at the end about the Westminister Confession of Faith and its view of the Civil Magistrate and that it was the original understanding of some kind of separation between church and state and saved western civilization.

I wish President Obama understood real Christianity and real history and the first Amendment.

There is a YouTube video showing President Obama deliberately leaving out the phrase "by their Creator" when he is quoting the Declaration of Independence - and he does it several times.

That really makes me angry. ( I trust a righteous anger against the evil policies of this adm.) Obama thinks we are "endowed with inalienable rights" without the Creator -

ObamaCare - destroying Economy. Massive Debt. Big Government. He is a very leftist with socialistic philosophy of Marx.
Forcing Religious institutions to pay for abortions - evil and violation of First Amendment.
Stated goal is to drive up gas prices, bankrupt coal companies, so that no oil will be used at all - he doesn't care how that will destroy economic and western civilization along with his support for homosexuals and their rights, etc.

May God make Obama loose in the elections in November!

Ken said...

Since today is Super Tuesday, and Drake's comments at the end of the video about government, etc.

I couldn't help but make some political comments.
(smile)

Ken said...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0UixxTQK3cg&feature=related

Drake Shelton's part 1 response to Loftus is even better and more interesting!

He rightly takes on the paganism of the Roman Catholic rituals, priests, monks, papal doctrines, etc.

and takes on the modern Baptist free church movement - that eventually leads to 1000s of denominations and total freedom, cults, false religions, etc.

Definitely food for thought.

And that John Locke got his ideas from Samuel Rutherford and secularized them and that came out in Jefferson, (and Franklin, and James Madison). Interesting stuff.

Lex Rex by Samuel Rutherford - interesting.

But, what happened to Scotland later and why is like it is today.

Says that the Bill of Rights came from the Presbyterians Scottish Covenanters of the 17th Century.

Maybe so, but what happened later?

David Waltz said...

Well hello Dave,

What a pleasant surprise! It is great to hear from you again...

In your first response, you posted:

==You wrote in an earlier paper that you linked to above:

"the Bible makes some important distinctions between the One who called ό θεός and the one called θεός; between the ό θεός who begets, and the μονογενής θεός who is begotten; between the one termed "τοῦ μόνου θεοῦ" (John 5:44) and "τὸν μόνον ἀληθινὸν θεὸν" (John 17:3), and the one He sends. I also pointed out that only one person in the Bible is declared to be the "εἷς θεὸς" (and it is not Jesus)."==

Me: The nature of the above verses is that John is referring to both the Father and the Son in the same context. That Jesus is termed God (and sometimes with the article—the Greek grammar makes this a highly complex issue) in contexts were He it the primary referent is fully affirmed by this beachbum. What I believe that you (and so many others) are 'missing' are the very important distinctions that John makes when he is directly discussing BOTH persons in the same context.

And further, it is God the Father alone who is referred to as the "one God" in the New Testament (and the Church Fathers of the first 300 years).

==Does this answer your objection (whatever it is you are objecting to)? If not, why?==

Me: No, the verses you provided do not pertain to the monarchy of God the Father.

==You also wrote in a comment: "I personally believe in the monarchy of God the Father, which has its basis in the fact the He and He alone is the ultimate Archē of everything except, of course, Himself."

Jesus is also called arche in the NT as I learned 30 years ago in studying the heresies of JWs:

Revelation 3:14 . . . the beginning [arche] of God's creation.==

Me: Once again, you are missing a very important point, namely, that God the Father is the arche of the Son; which is why I said that, "He [God the Father] is the ultimate Archē of everything except, of course, Himself."

== No difference at all. They are both creator and source of all things, as is stated elsewhere, too (Hebrews, Colossians), and both arche.==

Me: But there does exist an important difference Dave: God the Son's very life (i.e. beginning/cause) is via His begetting from/by God the Father. This pertains to the issue of etiology, which is often overlooked and/or brushed aside by most 'Western' Trinitarians.


Grace and peace,

David

David Waltz said...

Hello again Dave,

In your second post you wrote:

==Scripture also indicates (I think) that there is a sense in which the Father is subject to the Son:

John 16:15 (RSV) All that the Father has is mine; therefore I said that he will take what is mine and declare it to you.

John 16:23 In that day you will ask nothing of me. Truly, truly, I say to you, if you ask anything of the Father, he will give it to you in my name.==

Me: This is totally new to me—I have never heard anyone else speak of the Father being subject to the Son—I am not convinced that the above passages are saying what you have suggested.

==To say that only the Father is the "one God" is to demote Jesus and the Holy Spirit (and I thought that was the Orthodox gripe about us in the filioque dispute: that we supposedly do that.==

Me: But Dave, that is exactly how the Bible (also the early CF's, and Nicene Creed) describes God the Father; it is He and He alone who is termed the "one God". (We/I believe in one God, THE FATHER.)

==If Jesus is not the "one God" and if the Holy Spirit is not the "one God" then what / who are they, pray tell? They are either God or not. Since God is one (monotheism), then if they are God, they are also "the one God." If they are not "the one God" they are not God. Thus, trinitarianism requires that they must be.==

Me: The Son is the second person of the Godhead; he is the: μονογενὴς θεός. And the Spirit is the third person of the Godhead. Both the Son and the Spirit have their life/being from the "one God".

==Whether Scripture specifically refers to them in that way is not required, since Scripture teaches that they have every attribute of God. In fact, Jesus has at least one attribute that His Father does not: He became a man, whereas the Father never did.==

Me: Neither the Son nor the Spirit are autotheos; this attribute/property belongs to God the Father alone. (See THIS THREAD for some discussion on autotheos.)

==Cardinal Newman wrote in his book on the Arians:

"It is the clear declaration of Scripture, which we must receive without questioning, that the Son and Spirit are in the one God, and He in Them. . . . in naming the Father, we imply the Son and Spirit, whether They be named or not. Without this key, the language of Scripture is perplexed in the extreme. . . ."==

Me: I am pleased that you quoted the above passage, which was penned by Newman in 1833, twelve years before he entered the Catholic Church. Note what Newman wrote in 1872:

"The Monarchia : that is, that of the Three the Father is emphatically, (and with a singular distinction from the Other Two, as the πηγὴ θεότητος,[*]) spoken of as God." (John Henry Newman, "Causes of the Rise and Successes of Arianism", in Tracts - Theological and Ecclesiastical, 1974, p. 161.)

This tract of Newman's is a must read (IMHO), for in it he expounds at length the "Monarchia of the Father" (which he also terms the "Principatus of the Father"). Given the much later date of this work, one must recognize these reflections as his more mature thought on the matter.


Grace and peace,

David

* πηγὴ θεότητος = the cause/origin/source of deity/divinity

David Waltz said...

Hi Ken,

You posted:

==I don't understand why Drake says,==

I have invited Drake to the 'party'; I think it best that he respond directly, rather than me attempting to do so for him.


Grace and peace,

David

Drake Shelton said...

Dave,
Glad to dialogue with you. I have benefited greatly from your website.

"Revelation 3:14 . . . the beginning [arche] of God's creation. "

>>>The Eastern Triadology distinguishes between ontological actions and economical-thus the distinction between the ontological and economical trinity. The Father is the arche with reference to the ontological trinity. Creation regards the economy of salvation.

"No difference at all. They are both creator and source of all things, as is stated elsewhere, too (Hebrews, Colossians), and both arche.
Why this is an issue at all with you or anyone who accepts biblical inspiration, is the mystery here. "

>>>You answer some of your own questions below, however, to your assertion "No difference at all". If that is true, is there no difference between them and the Spirit? If no, then what does the Spirit cause and how does that not dissolve out into Neoplatonist emanationism and a hierarchy of being?

"To say that only the Father is the "one God" is to demote Jesus and the Holy Spirit (and I thought that was the Orthodox gripe about us in the filioque dispute: that we supposedly do that."

>>>We subordinate at the level of person the Spirit and the Son, BUT NOT THE NATURE. You refuse the ***attribute**** (on your view) of causality to the Spirit and therefore demote his nature.

"If Jesus is not the "one God" and if the Holy Spirit is not the "one God" then what / who are they, pray tell? They are either God or not. Since God is one (monotheism), then if they are God, they are also "the one God." If they are not "the one God" they are not God. Thus, trinitarianism requires that they must be."

>>>They are WITH the one God eternally. (John 1)

"Whether Scripture specifically refers to them in that way is not required, since Scripture teaches that they have every attribute of God"

>>>Do they all have the attribute of causality?

"In fact, Jesus has at least one attribute that His Father does not: He became a man, whereas the Father never did."

>>This is confusing and one of the reasons I rejected the hypostatic union for about a year and a half. The hypostatic union affirms that Christ's humanity connects to the Logos at the level of person not nature, therefore it is not a DIVINE attribute. Aquinas says in Summa Theologica Part Three, Incarnation, General, On the Union Itself, Article 2. Whether the union of Incarnate Word took place in the Person?
"to Objection 1. Although in God Nature and Person are not really distinct, yet they have distinct meanings, as was said above, inasmuch as person signifies after the manner of something subsisting. And because human nature is united to the Word, so that the Word subsists in it, and not so that His Nature receives therefrom any addition or change, it follows that the union of human nature to the Word of God took place in the person, and not in the nature." [http://www.newadvent.org/summa/4002.htm]

"Colossians 1:16-17"

>>>Again this is the economia.
"We exist for the Father; all things (including us] are "for" Jesus. Same thing."

>>>>IN THE ECONOMIA. What you are going to have to end up saying is exactly what my video portrays: A collapsing of nature and will where the creation emanates from God as a necessity of nature.

Drake Shelton said...

Ken

"Ok, there is nothing contradictory there, it seems to me, from Protestantism nor RCC on the Trinity."

>>>Yes there is. It is called Absolute Divine Simnpliciity which rejects all ontological distinctions in God, like nature-will distinction, and Aquinas was consistent to ffirm as much:

Here is the entire Chapter in full from Aquinas’s Summa Contra Gentiles I.73.

“Chapter 73

THAT THE WILL OF GOD IS HIS ESSENCE

[1] From this it appears that God’s will is not other than His essence.

[2] It belongs to God to be endowed with will in so far as He is intelligent, as has been shown. But God has understanding by His essence, as was proved above. So, therefore, does He have will. God’s will, therefore, is His very essence.

[3] Again, as to understand is the perfection of the one understanding, so to will is the perfection of the one willing; for both are actions remaining in the agent and not going out (as does heat) to some receiving subject. But the understanding of God is His being, as was proved above. For, since the divine being is in itself most perfect, it admits of no superadded perfection, as was proved above. The divine willing also is, therefore, His being; and hence the will of God is His essence.

[4] Moreover, since every agent acts in so far as it is in act, God, Who is pure act, must act through His essence. Willing, however, is a certain operation of God. Therefore, God must be endowed with will through His essence. Therefore, His will is His essence.

[5] Furthermore, if will were something added to the divine substance, since the divine substance is something complete in being it would follow that will would be added to it as an accident to a subject, that the divine substance would be related to it as potency to act, and that there would be composition in God. All this was refuted above. Hence, it is not possible that the divine will be something added to the divine substance.”

Turretin clearly affirms this doctrine in his Institutes, Vol. 1.

"Drake keeps talking about the original Nicean Creed - but didn't the Eastern Orthodox themselves, the Cappadocian fathers - Gregory of Nyssa, Gregory of Naziansus, and Basil the Great"

>>I'll let David handle this. I think he knows more about this issue than I do.

"Drake makes the point that Augustine's Neo-Platonism from Plontinus, (what about his Manicheaism also ?) affected him."

>>>Sure, what about it?

"But the Orthodox do believe in the Deity of Christ"

Ken, there are some Orthodox theologians who use this term because the have a hankering for Aristotle. The term "deity" itself implies that the God of Christianity is not a person but a nature.

"That the Father has a priority and beginning"

How does out view imply God has a beginning?

"Says that the Bill of Rights came from the Presbyterians Scottish Covenanters of the 17th Century.

Maybe so, but what happened later?"

>>>Well I qualified that. I said the English Bill of Rights came out of the movement. Locke's work immediately laid these out but it was operating on much of what Rutherford said.

Dave Armstrong said...

Hi David,

Yeah, it's been a while.

I'm delighted that you want to discuss Cardinal Newman, my own "theological hero" and subject of my next book, to be published in a few months (Sophia Institute Press): The Quotable Newman. I was just discussing it on the phone today with an editor and marketer. Perhaps I can count on you to purchase a copy. :-)

As with most of these discussions, it becomes a series of increasingly abstract ruminations, and oftentimes, the parties are not as far apart as they think (and not as accurate as they make out, in describing other views). Shelton wanted to bash western theology / St. Augustine, etc. (sounding very much like an Orthodox Christians when he did so), but I don't see that we are so drastically different from Orthodox conceptions with regard to the Trinity.

There are some real differences, sure, but I find that they are often exaggerated to the point of distortion and almost calumny at times. For these notions you are discussing, rightly-understood, are all part of Catholic dogma. Ludwig Ott, in his Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma, devotes twelve fascinating pages to "The Triple Personality of God," covering every conceivable ground of processions, spirations, generations, relations, appropriations, and perichoresis (or circmincession).

You seem to see a contradiction between Newman's statement of 1833 and his later 1872 observations. I search in vain to see any such thing. You cite a small portion. But Newman is discussing the matter in the context of four aspects of the Trinity: 1) Divine Triad, 2) Unity, 3) Monarchy, and 4) Circumincessio. Hence, at the end of the paragraph from which you drew your quotation, Newman ties the notion in with circumincession, precisely as I did in my replies:

"But, as such enunciations might seem to separate the First from the Second and Third Persons of the Holy Trinity, they are explained by

(4) The Circumincessio; or intimate co-inherence of Each Person in the Other Two. Thus Athenagoras:—"The Son is in the Father, and the Father in the Son, by the unity and power of the Spirit;" Tertullian, "Not that we can number Two Gods or Two Lords, although the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, Each is God." And he speaks of their being "Three Co-inherents." The Alexandrian Dionysius says:—"The father is not divided from the Son, nor the Son apart from the Father, and in Their Hands is the Spirit." Pope Dionysius:—"We must not preach Three Gods, dividing the Holy Monad into three hypostases, foreign from each other, and altogether separate: for of necessity with the God of the Universe the Divine Word is One, and in God must the Holy Ghost reside and dwell." "

[my bolding; his italics]

http://www.newmanreader.org/works/tracts/arianism/section3.html

Drake Shelton said...

David (W),

"The Monarchia : that is, that of the Three the Father is emphatically, (and with a singular distinction from the Other Two, as the πηγὴ θεότητος,[*]) spoken of as God." (John Henry Newman, "Causes of the Rise and Successes of Arianism", in Tracts - Theological and Ecclesiastical, 1974, p. 161.)"

Nice.

Dave Armstrong said...

[continued from previous]

What am I missing? Both Cardinal Newman and I sought to place the monarchia within a larger context, to make sure the meaning is not misunderstood in a heretical direction. He expressly states this, and the entire larger section is devoted to perversion of these orthodox concepts into Arianism, Semi-Arianism, and other heresies: on which he was an expert.

Your paper extolls Shelton's video mini-lecture, which wants to bash St. Augustine and historic Catholic theology, yet you end up citing Cardinal Newman making more or less the same point you (and Shelton) seek to make.

But since Newman was (orthodox) Catholic when writing this (and is one of our most celebrated theologians), how, exactly, is that a proof of western error on these points?

I was mainly disagreeing with your contention that only the Father can be entitled "the one God." In one of your papers you cited at least a few eastern Church fathers who made the same point (and I made mine before I read those, so inadvertently echoed their thinking).

I thought I showed by my biblical examples that we can't just go by a phrase, but also have to exegete more deeply and look into what it means in context, with appropriate cross-referencing (i.e., the stuff of systematic theology).

When I did that, I demonstrated that in two instances of the Father being called "the one God", all the attributes included in the definition in context were also possessed by the Son.

I didn't deny procession and all of those intricate facts about the Holy Trinity.

You also claim that the Father is the arche of the Son. Perhaps you mean to express something not explicitly biblical (which is fine), but arche in Scripture is not applied, far as I can see, in terms of the Father's generation of the son, but rather, used of both (as I have shown), in relation to creation. If you know of a verse where arche is used in your sense, please direct me to it.

Drake Shelton said...

Dave,

I had no intention of bashing Saint Augustine. My entire view of metaphysics and philosophy is built off his De Magistro. I love Augustine. I just think he was in error on this issue. Now I do bash Roman Catholicism. That's true. I'm not trying to divert the dialogue onto this issue but Catholic bashing does goes along with the whole Protestant Calvinist thing.

Dave Armstrong said...

Cardinal Newman elaborates, a little later, in the same work, with his typical emphasis on words in the fathers and how heretics abused them for their nefarious ends:

* * *

§ 5. The first opportunity opened to the heresy, the Principatus of the Father

{167} The Principatus of the Father is a great Catholic truth, and was taught in the Church after the Nicene Council as well as before it; but on the other hand, it might easily be perverted into a shape favourable to Semi-Arianism. This danger is so obvious, that I shall have chiefly to employ myself in this Section in defending the doctrine, not in showing its capability of perversion. Let us consider the place it holds in the Catholic system.

No subject was more constantly and directly before the Christian intellect in the first centuries of the Church than the doctrine of the Monarchia [Note 1]. That there was but one First Principle of all things was a fundamental doctrine of all Catholics, orthodox and heterodox alike; and it was the starting-point of heterodox as well as of orthodox speculation. To the orthodox believer, however, it brought with it a perplexity, which it did not occasion to the adherents of those shallow systems which led to heresy. Christianity began its teaching by denouncing polytheism as absurd and wicked; but the retort on the part of the polytheist was obvious:—Christianity taught a Divine Trinity: how was this consistent with its profession of a Monarchy? on the other hand, if there was {168} a Divine Monarchia, how was not Sabellius right in denying the distinction of Persons in the Divine Essence? or, if not Sabellius, then Arius, who degraded Son and Spirit to the condition of creatures? Polytheists, Sabellians, Arians, it might be objected, had more to say for themselves in this matter than Catholics.

Catholic theologians met this difficulty, both before and after the Nicene Council, by insisting on the unity of origin, which they taught as existing in the Divine Triad, the Son and Spirit having a communicated divinity from the Father, and a personal unity with Him; the Three Persons being internal to the Divine Essence, . . .

. . . it is plain, that this method of viewing the Unity as centered in its Origin, and the Monarchia as equivalent to the Monas, might be perverted into a Semi-Arian denial of the proper divinity of Son and Spirit, if ever They were supposed, by reason of Their derivation, to be emanations, and therefore external to the Essence of the Father. . . .

Dave Armstrong said...

[Newman's words continued]

I have fully allowed that the Principatus in the Ante-Nicene times was one of those doctrines which gave a shelter to the Semi-Arian heresy which came afterwards; and I think I have shown, even in the instance of a clear-headed divine like Bull, who desires with his whole heart to believe with Athanasius, that it is easy so to hold it as to be on the verge of heresy. However, I still consider it as an important doctrine, and valuable now not less than when it was more insisted on. It is remarkable that the great Fathers of the fourth century, with their full experience of Arianism, nevertheless continued to enunciate it. . . .

Though Augustine in this extract lays down with much distinctness the doctrine of the Principatus, yet the tendency of his theology—certainly that of the times that followed—was to throw that doctrine into the background. The abuse of it by the Arians is a full explanation of this neglect of it. However, what St. Irenaeus, St. Athanasius, and St. Basil taught, never can be put aside. It is as true now as when those great Fathers enunciated it; and if true, it cannot be ignored without some detriment to the fulness and the symmetry of the Catholic dogma.

One obvious use of it is to facilitate to the imagination the descent of the Divine Nature to the human, as revealed in the doctrine of the Incarnation; the Eternal Son of God becoming by a second birth the Son of God in time, is a line of thought which preserves to us the continuity of idea in the Divine Revelation; whereas, if we say abruptly that the Supreme Being became the Son of Mary, this, however true when taken by itself, still by reason of the infinite distance between God and man, acts in the direction of the Nestorian error of a Christ with two Persons, as certainly as the doctrine of the Principatus, when taken by itself, favours the Arian error of a merely human Christ. The Principatus then is the formal safeguard of the Faith against Nestorianism. And (if the thought is not too bold) I may suggest, in coincidence with what I have been saying, that the heresy of Nestorius did, in matter of fact, immediately spring into existence upon this reaction; and St. Augustine, to whom we owe so much for what he has written on the Holy Trinity, lived long enough to be invited on his death-bed to the Ephesian Council summoned by St. Cyril for the condemnation of the Nestorian teaching.

* * *

[now my own words] But St. Augustine is not the magisterium of the Catholic Church. Nor is even St. Thomas Aquinas. Both have been deemed to be wrong on certain points.

Here is a later Catholic theologian correcting him, in accordance with our dogma, and I shall cite actual dogmatic texts next.

Dave Armstrong said...

Now here is some actual Catholic dogma, from Denzinger, Sources of Catholic Dogma (#275-277)

(ADEODATUS 672-676)

COUNCIL OF TOLEDO XI 675*

Creed of Faith (especially concerning the Trinity and the Incarnation) *

["Exposition of faith" against the Priscillianists]

275 [The Trinity] We confess and believe the holy and ineffable Trinity, the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit, one God naturally, to be of one substance, one nature, and also of one majesty and power. And we profess that the Father, indeed, is not begotten, not created but unbegotten. For He from whom both the Son received His nativity and the Holy Spirit His procession takes His origin from no one. Therefore, He is the source and origin of all Godhead; also is the Father Himself of His own essence, He who ineffably begot the Son [Another version: Father, essence indeed ineffable, Son of His own substance] from an ineffable substance; nor did He, however, beget other than what He Himself is: God God, light light, from Him, therefore, is all paternity

276 in heaven and on earth [Eph. 3:15].--We confess also that the Son was born, but not made, from the substance of the Father without beginning before all ages, because neither the Father without the Son, nor the Son without the Father ever at any time existed. And yet not as the Son front the Father, so the Father from the Son, because the Father did not receive generation from the Son, but the Son from the Father. The Son, therefore, is God from the Father; the Father, however, is God, but not from the Son; Father indeed of the Son, not God from the Son. He, however, is Son of the Father and God from the Father. However, the Son is equal in all things to God the Father, because at no time did He either begin or cease to be born. We believe that He is of one substance with the Father, and because of this we say that He is (Greek text deleted) to the Father, that is, of the same substance with the Father, for (Greek text deleted) in Greek means one, (Greek text deleted) means substance, and the two joined together mean "one substance." For, neither from nothing, nor from any other substance, but from the womb of the Father, that is, from His substance, we must believe that the Son was begotten or born.

Dave Armstrong said...

[cont.]

Therefore, the Father is eternal, and the Son is eternal. But if He always was Father, He always had a Son to whom He was Father; and by reason of this we confess that the Son was born of the Father without beginning. Neither do we call the same Son of God a part of a divided nature because of the fact that He is begotten of the Father; but we assert that the perfect Father begot the perfect Son without diminution or division, because it is a characteristic of Divinity alone not to have an unequal Son. Also, this Son is Son of God by nature, not by adoption, * whom we must believe God the Father begot neither by will nor by necessity; for, neither does any necessity happen [ al. capit, 'take hold'] in God, nor does will precede wisdom.--We believe also that the

277 Holy Spirit, who is the third person in the Trinity, is God, one and equal with God the Father and the Son, of one substance, also of one nature; that He is the Spirit of both, not, however, begotten nor created but proceeding from both. We believe also that this Holy Spirit is neither unbegotten nor begotten, lest if we say unbegotten, we should affirm two Fathers, or if begotten, we should be proven to declare two Sons; He is said to be the Spirit, however, not only of the Father but at the same time of the Father and the Son. For, neither does He proceed from the Father into the Son, nor does He proceed from the Son to sanctify the creature, but He is shown to have proceeded at the same time from both, because He is acknowledged to be the love or holiness of both. Therefore, we believe that this Holy Spirit was sent by both, as the Son was sent by the Father; but He is not considered less than the Father and the Son, as the Son, on account of the body He assumed, testifies that He Himself is less than the Father and the Holy Spirit.

http://www.catecheticsonline.com/SourcesofDogma3.php

Drake Shelton said...

Dave (A),

"There are some real differences, sure, but I find that they are often exaggerated to the point of distortion and almost calumny at times."

>>The difference between generic and numeric unity cannot be emphasized enough. Its not even close to the same understanding of God. You guys are making the nature a subject and the persons predicate relations. In Thomas Aquinas's Summa Theologica Q 29 Article 4, Whether this word "person" signifies relation? he says

"To determine the question, we must consider that something may be included in the meaning of a less common term, which is not included in the more common term; as "rational" is included in the meaning of "man," and not in the meaning of "animal." So that it is one thing to ask the meaning of the word animal, and another to ask its meaning when the animal in question is man. Also, it is one thing to ask the meaning of this word "person" in general; and another to ask the meaning of "person" as applied to God. For "person" in general signifies the individual substance of a rational figure. The individual in itself is undivided, but is distinct from others. Therefore "person" in any nature signifies what is distinct in that nature: thus in human nature it signifies this flesh, these bones, and this soul, which are the individuating principles of a man, and which, though not belonging to "person" in general, nevertheless do belong to the meaning of a particular human person.
Now distinction in God is only by relation of origin, as stated above (Q[28], AA[2],3), while relation in God is not as an accident in a subject, but is the divine essence itself; and so it is subsistent, for the divine essence subsists. Therefore, as the Godhead is God so the divine paternity is God the Father, Who is a divine person. Therefore a divine person signifies a relation as subsisting...Thus we can say that this signification of the word "person" was not clearly perceived before it was attacked by heretics. Hence, this word "person" was used just as any other absolute term. But afterwards it was applied to expressrelation, as it lent itself to that signification, so that this word "person" means relation not only by use and custom, according to the first opinion, but also by force of its own proper signification." [http://www.newadvent.org/summa/4002.htm]

Protestant Richard Muller follows suit:

“Thus in God, there are three proprietates – paternitas, filiatio, and spiratio. Relatio also refers to personal properties but in the very specific sense of the way in which the distinct subsistencies…relate to one another.” (Muller, Vol 4 pg. 187)

Dave Armstrong said...

Hi Drake,

You quote St. Thomas Aquinas a lot. What he says in particulars may or may not be harmonious with Catholic dogma, and even when it is (which usually) there are different levels of infallibility (as I assume you are aware).

I have cited Cardinal Newman (since a book of his was cited by David in supposed opposition to either 1) my view, or 2) the Catholic dogmatic view (and I always seek to be in harmony with that).

As far as I know, what he says is consistent with our dogma on these trinitarian issues.

What, exactly, do you (or David) disagree with, in what I cited from Newman or from Denzinger (actual Catholic dogma)?

I'm unclear as to what it is we are even disagreeing about. It seems that we are perhaps talking past each other. Just because Catholics emphasize nature and essence in the Godhead doesn't mean we ignore or don't make statements also about the Divine Persons. This is what I mean about Orthodox (and sometimes Protestant) caricature of Catholic theology proper.

Invariably when I look into some of the controversies that are bandied about, the Catholic Church ends up discussing and making dogma all the aspects (both/and), while we are accused of denying one of them (an either/or mentality or false dichotomy projected onto us).

That seems to be the case presently, though I am no kind of expert at all on these highly complex matters. I'm just trying to understand the objections and offer whatever replies I am able to give.

Certainly we all agree that these are very deep waters, and that we must tread with extreme caution.

Dave Armstrong said...

Hi Drake,

Glad to dialogue with you.

Likewise.

I have benefited greatly from your website.

Thank you. All glory to God. If even a donkey could talk and utter truths, perhaps once in a while even we lowly papists may come up with truth. It's bound to happen, if only by chance. :-)

The Eastern Triadology distinguishes between ontological actions and economical-thus the distinction between the ontological and economical trinity. The Father is the arche with reference to the ontological trinity. Creation regards the economy of salvation.

Understood (that this is your, and their view). My problem is that I don't see arche in Scripture used in this fashion. It is used in relation to creation. If it is not a scriptural use, then why make a big deal of the word? Why not use another more appropriate word, like monogenes? Both of you have cited this particular word and applied it in your own fashion, but without (far as I recall) citing any biblical passage in your favor (whereas I have cited many).


to your assertion "No difference at all". If that is true, is there no difference between them and the Spirit? If no, then what does the Spirit cause and how does that not dissolve out into Neoplatonist emanationism and a hierarchy of being?

You are far afield. In context, I was referring solely to the biblical use of arche as applied to both the Father and the Son (in the same way).

We subordinate at the level of person the Spirit and the Son, BUT NOT THE NATURE. You refuse the ***attribute**** (on your view) of causality to the Spirit and therefore demote his nature.

How do I (Catholics) "refuse the attribute (on your view) of causality to the Spirit"? What exactly are you talking about? Please explain in plain English. :-)

They are WITH the one God eternally. (John 1)

I deny that Jesus cannot be properly called "the one God" since He is virtually called that in essence in the passages I cited, and since the use of the phrase in reference to the Father involve concepts all themselves also characteristic of Jesus. In other words, I contend that it could have been properly used of Jesus in Scripture without contradiction even if it was not so used in fact. David hasn't yet answered that deductive biblical argument of mine; perhaps you will.

Secondly, John 1 says the Son (logos) is with God (1:1-2), but it also ways that He was God (1:1). So why do you highlight the :with" but not the "was"? If you say that you denied the Hypostatic Union for a time, this goes to show that you are quite capable of being led into Christological heresy, with all these ponderings. Much better to accept apostolic succession and the wisdom of the Fathers, as drawn from Holy Scripture. You were heretical even by the standards of most Protestant denominations: in denying what is the trinitarian consensus of Chalcedon (451).

Dave Armstrong said...

ME: "Whether Scripture specifically refers to them in that way is not required, since Scripture teaches that they have every attribute of God"

Do they all have the attribute of causality?

I did neglect there the aspects we are discussing: generation, spiration, etc. So I gladly clarify that.

ME: "In fact, Jesus has at least one attribute that His Father does not: He became a man, whereas the Father never did."

This is confusing and one of the reasons I rejected the hypostatic union for about a year and a half. The hypostatic union affirms that Christ's humanity connects to the Logos at the level of person not nature, therefore it is not a DIVINE attribute.

That's correct. I simply said "attribute". :-) But it is an attribute possessed by a Divine Person (Jesus: God the Son), and an attribute willed by both the Father and the Son (the Father sent the Son, Who willingly became man and died for us).

ME: "Colossians 1:16-17"

Again this is the economia.

But that distinction is beside my point, which was to show that in terms of creation, Jesus is described in almost all the ways that the Father is described. In one place it even applies "through" to the Father, whereas we usually think of that with regard to the Son's role in creation. But that brings in circumincession . . . I was making this argument in response to the assertion that "one God" can only apply to the Father.

ME: "We exist for the Father; all things (including us] are "for" Jesus. Same thing."

IN THE ECONOMIA.

See my last comment. You are responding to my arguments completely out of context; thus missing my points, which remains essentially unresponded to.

What you are going to have to end up saying is exactly what my video portrays: A collapsing of nature and will where the creation emanates from God as a necessity of nature.

Not at all. God didn't have to create. He was (is) not bound by any such necessity. You are arbitrarily applying categories without proper discrimination. I'm trying to get both you and David on an objective track of discussing 1) what Scripture says, and 2) what Catholic dogma says, and 3) showing me how these supposedly contradict, rather than flying off on these extended forays about words (with those not even connected enough to biblical usage).

Thus far, I have been singularly unsuccessful in that goal. But hope springs eternal!

Ken said...

Dave Armstrong wrote:
Secondly, John 1 says the Son (logos) is with God (1:1-2), but it also ways that He was God (1:1). So why do you highlight the :with" but not the "was"?

Dave Armstrong is actually easier to understand that David Waltz and Drake Shelton on this issue of the Trinity and the Deity of Christ. (smile)

Dave Armstrong said...

I agree! LOL

Ken said...

Dave Armstrong is actually easier to understand than David Waltz and Drake Shelton on this issue of the Trinity and the Deity of Christ. (smile)

Drake Shelton said...

Dave (A),


Dave (A)

"How do I (Catholics) "refuse the attribute (on your view) of causality to the Spirit"? What exactly are you talking about? Please explain in plain English. :-) "

>>>Joseph P Farrell in a critique of Augustine’s view of Simplicity says,

"In other words, there is an artificial opposition of one person to the other two. It is at this point that the flexibility of Augustine’s Neoplatonic commitment begins to surface in a more acute form...Thus came Augustine to argue for the deity of Christ by means of the filioque; for, if the Son, acting as a cause along with the Father, causes the Spirit, then clearly the Son is God. But underlying Augustine’s response to Arianism is his acceptance of the Arians’ own confusion of person and nature by the acceptance of the Arian definition of the divine nature in terms of the causality of the Father.”

>>>Augustine argues for the "deity" of Christ by appealing to his causality (Because the father eternally begets the Son-Causes the Son), that is, his action of producing the Holy Spirit (Filioque). If causality, production of a divine person, is necessary for "deity" the Hoy Spirit is not deity because he doesn't cause any divine person.

" deny that Jesus cannot be properly called "the one God" since He is virtually called that in essence in the passages I cited,"

>>>Are you referring to the passages that mention him being the arche of creation? If so, I answered these. This conversation involves the Ontological Trinity, not the Economical Trinity.

"Secondly, John 1 says the Son (logos) is with God (1:1-2), but it also ways that He was God (1:1). So why do you highlight the :with" but not the "was"?"

>>>>Because David (W) already dealt with this.

"If you say that you denied the Hypostatic Union for a time"

>>>Well specifically I denied the confused representations of it akin to the confusion you mentioned above. I never denied that the union between the Logos and his Humanity was an ontological union at the level of hypostasis contrasted with an ontological union at the level of nature. As soon as that definition was presented to me I relinquished all complaints and made a public statement concerning it.

"this goes to show that you are quite capable of being led into Christological heresy"

>>>It shows I am willing to submit to the truth when it is presented to me.

Drake Shelton said...

Dave (A),


"Much better to accept apostolic succession and the wisdom of the Fathers, as drawn from Holy Scripture."

>>>Actually your view of transubstantiation is one principle reason why I rejected my understanding of the hypostatic union for so long. That is a union at the level of nature as clear as can be proved.

"That's correct. I simply said "attribute". :-) But it is an attribute possessed by a Divine Person"

>>>This again shows your confusion between the Ontological Trinity and the Economical Trinity. What the Logos does in the Economia is NOT the subject of this conversation.

"But that distinction is beside my point, which was to show that in terms of creation, Jesus is described in almost all the ways that the Father is described."

>>>Again, the Eastern complaint against filioque is that it confuses the Ontological Trinity and the Economical Trinity. The eastern view is that the spirit proceeds through the Son IN THE ECONOMY OF SALVATION, NOT, in eternity[FILIOQUE].

"Not at all. God didn't have to create."

>>>Agreed, because of the ontological distinction between nature and will. But as I demonstrated, you can't believe that.

"He was (is) not bound by any such necessity."

>>>So then from what fount doth creation spring sir? If not nature, then what else is there? Due to your divine simplicity there are no other objects of choice for you.

Dave Armstrong said...

Drake's position on St. Augustine's supposes neo-Platonism is not held by all. Michel R. Barnes, associate professor of historical theology at Marquette, according to his faculty page, "has written extensively on the Trinitarian theologies of Gregory of Nyssa and Augustine of Hippo, and has published in Augustinian Studies, Journal of Theological Studies, Medieval Philosophy and Theology, Modern Theology, Theological Studies, and Vigiliae Christianae. He is the author of the monograph, The Power of God: A Study of Gregory of Nyssa's Trinitarian Theology, and co-editor of Arianism After Arius. He is presently writing a monograph on Augustine's Trinitarian Theology as well as a book on the doctrine of the Holy Spirit in the early church."

http://www.mu.edu/theology/barnes.shtml

His Wikipedia page goes into great depth:

Barnes achieved early acclaim for his correction of the narrative that developed from DeRégnon’s characterization of Eastern and Western Trinitarian theology as starting from distinction and unity, respectively.[2] The nineteenth-century scholar Theodore DeRégnon had asserted that Western Trinitarian theology had historically emphasized God's oneness, while Eastern Trinitarian theology had emphasized God's threeness. This characterization was as pithy as it was inaccurate, and it became repeated in theological and historical circles up to the present day, until Barnes traced its origin and dismissed it, so that it could no longer distort Christian descriptions of God as Trinity. In the Harvard Theological Review Khaled Anatolios spoke of the impact of Barnes tearing down this long-standing structure of misunderstanding that had distorted Christian theologies of God, acknowledging that “The assertion of a substantive rift between Eastern and Western trinitarian theologies… is not found in either Hanson or Simonetti, for instance, and its genealogy, traced back to the figure of de Régnon, has been famously exposed by Michel Barnes.”[3] Similarly, Matthew Drever noted Barnes's leading role in recasting this history of the Christian understanding of God, lauding the “recent attempt by Barnes, Ayres, and others to argue that many of the traditional categories for analyzing pre- and post-Nicene thought (especially the distinction between East and West on the starting points of de Deo Trino vs. de Deo Uno) are inadequate.”[4] . . . Along with Lewis Ayres, holder of a chair in Catholic Studies at the University of Durham, and Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, Barnes is part of a rereading of Augustine's trinitarian theology that overturns the older, neoplatonic-centered account. This new reading is referred to as "New Canon" Augustine scholarship.[5] Through this work, contemporary scholarship on Augustine has become aware that one of the greatest of Christian theologians has been read primarily through a non-theological lens, and is therefore peculiarly in need of a thoroughly theological or doctrinal re-reading."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michel_Ren%C3%A9_Barnes

This guy has done extensive Augustinian studies. What credentials do you bring for rendering your opinions on the same matters, Drake?

Sounds to me that if Barnes is correct, it is more of the same old false dichotomies that I have often observed myself in Orthodox-Catholic polemics. Some people just don't want to see agreement where it exists.

Dave Armstrong said...

In “Reading Augustine on the Trinity” in The Trinity ed. Stephen T. Davis, Daniel Kendall, and Gerald O’Collins, pg. 152-153, Barnes wrote:

***

What I will suggest now is that the judgment of the ‘neoplatonic’ character of Augustine’s trinitarian theology may have once had the function of placing that trinitarian theology within a historical context and within a narrative of the development of doctrine (namely, placing that trinitarian theology within the historical context of late fourth-, early fifth-century Latin neoplatonism). But if such a judgment on neo-platonic character of Augustine’s emphasis on unity ever had the function of locating that theology within a historical context, the judgement does not, cannot, continue to do so credibly any longer. There are several reasons why reading Augustine’s trinitarian theology as an event in Latin neoplatonism can no longer creidbly serve to locate that theology historically, of which I shall only three name. The first reason is that the understanding of neoplatonism as a historical phenomenon which was presumed for that narrative is itself no longer viable from a scholarly point of view. The second reason is that he secondary work which supposedly supports such a judgement (e.g. du Roy’s) in fact does not. The third reason . . . is the point of departure of this essay: such a location fails to reflect the doctrinal content of the texts is is supposed to explain, depending as it does upon an ahistorical, decontextualized, or dismembered reading of the texts.

http://wedgewords.wordpress.com/2008/06/04/augustine-and-neo-platonism/

Drake Shelton said...

Dave's view is easier to understand? Have I drifted into a different dimension?

Here are your two choices:

I. The Original Nicene Creed: You have one God, the Father, a concreted person and eternally with him is his Son and Spirit that extend from the Father at the level of nature.


II. The Roman Popish view: You have one God, God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit; So three gods? No One God! But you just listed three gods; I know but three really equals one; Do you mean one nature and three persons?; Yes; So then the nature is the God?; Yes, but, no, no wait, hold on. There is one God eternally subsisting as Father, Son and Spirit. God is HE who is the Trinity; So then the persons are just three modes of the same thing or person however way you slice it. Isn't that what Sabellius said?; No!; what's the difference?; The difference is I don't want that to mean Sabellianism because the Trinity falls outside the scope of natural reason; So then it has not been revealed then? By definition you would have to change your view of revelation in order for the Trinity to be revealed but not attainable by reason; No!; Why not?; Because I don't want that to mean that. Knowledge of God is not rational or propositional it is relational; So then truth is not found in a proposition but in a psychological state; Yes!; That is exactly what Plotinus said in the Enneads. One leaves natural cognition to be dissolved into the One because the One is simple and cannot suffer the distinctions of a mind (Which is why the Nous/Mind is the first ***production*** of the One). therefore to be united to the One is not propositional/rational activity, it is a psychological trance state. On this view then, Knowledge of God BY DEFINITION CANNOT MAKE SENSE. That's the whole point.

So then The Roman view by definition cannot make sense at all, much less make MORE sense that what David and I are saying.

Drake Shelton said...

Dave (A),

"This guy has done extensive Augustinian studies. What credentials do you bring for rendering your opinions on the same matters, Drake?"

>>This questions is very disapointing Dave and is a typical Roman Cathplic appeal to authority. I have none, Dave. I'm just a dude. I have read quite a bit in the Greek Fathers, Palamas, Photios, Florovsky, and Farrell. Farrell, IMO is the most knowledge human alive on these issues. His primary work is here:

http://books.google.com/books?id=ULAiVpCMGrAC&printsec=frontcover&source=gbs_ge_summary_r&cad=0#v=onepage&q&f=false

"But if such a judgment on neo-platonic character of Augustine’s emphasis on unity ever had the function of locating that theology within a historical context, the judgement does not, cannot, continue to do so credibly any longer."

>>I disagree and Farrell shows it here:

http://www.anthonyflood.com/farrellphotios.htm

Dave Armstrong said...

ME: How do I (Catholics) "refuse the attribute (on your view) of causality to the Spirit"? What exactly are you talking about? Please explain in plain English. :-) "

Joseph P Farrell in a critique of Augustine’s view of Simplicity says, . . .

I ask for plain English and you give me pointy-headed gobbledygook fro a guy who appears to have quite a reputation as a conspiracy theorist and is an "Adjunct Professor of Patristic Theology and Apologetics" at an unaccredited university (California Graduate School of Theology). According to Wikipedia, his ostensible masterwork, entitled God, History, and Dialectic "has yet to be peer reviewed by any major scholarly journal."

http://www.abovetopsecret.com/forum/thread542065/pg1

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joseph_P._Farrell

His four-volume book isn't listed on amazon (which is quite a feat: even my own obscure Lulu books are on there). Barnes & Noble informs me that it was published by the prestigious Seven Councils Press (which I can't even find in a Google search) in 1997, and has to be special-ordered.

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/god-history-and-dialectic-joseph-p-farrell/1002884194?ean=9780966086003

It's not listed in any library (several of my books are), according to its Google page:

http://books.google.com/books/about/God_History_and_Dialectic.html?id=ULAiVpCMGrAC

There is a page linked from the above book-page where it can at least be purchased in electronic form.

This is the source for your claims contra St. Augustine? You couldn't come up with a better source than this?

Augustine argues for the "deity" of Christ by appealing to his causality (Because the father eternally begets the Son-Causes the Son), that is, his action of producing the Holy Spirit (Filioque). If causality, production of a divine person, is necessary for "deity" the Holy Spirit is not deity because he doesn't cause any divine person.

I see. Please give me a reference to where St. Augustine argues in this fashion, so I can look it up and read it in context.

Dave Armstrong said...

This questions is very disapointing Dave and is a typical Roman Cathplic appeal to authority. I have none, Dave. I'm just a dude.

I see. So you're a dude just as I am. You make a You Tube video pontificating about all sorts of very complex matters of trinitarian theology, that have occupied the greatest minds in the history of theology, east and west.

You expect us to accept that as if you are an expert: running down St. Augustine and the Catholic Church; stating (in this combox) that we can't possibly hold that God didn't create out of necessity (which is a Catholic de fide dogma), because of Divine Simplicity.

Asked what your credentials are, you produce none except reading a lot of stuff.

I'm not going around claiming anything like what you are claiming: that Catholic theology was horrendously perverted by supposed Augustinian neo-Platonism. If extraordinary claims are made and expected to be received, then the least we can demand is that the person making such claims give us some reason why we should accept their argumentation.

So I inquire about that, and (with great irony) you blast me for appealing to authority? Asking for credentials commensurate with the grandiosity of claims made is, of course, entirely different from the fallacy of appealing to authority.

Now we see that you are relying on an apparently controversial conspiracy theorist who can't even get his masterpiece published properly, and who is adjunct professor at an unaccredited college.

Looks to me like it is merely the usual distortions of the anti-Catholic wing of Orthodoxy, enlisted by a Reformed Protestant for the (again usual) purposes of bashing Catholicism. But at least you could produce a decent scholar . . .

Drake Shelton said...

No problemo,

"I see. Please give me a reference to where St. Augustine argues in this fashion, so I can look it up and read it in context."

New Advent Version of On the Trinity by Saint Augustine(Book XV)Chapter 26.47

"47. Are we therefore able to ask whether the Holy Spirit had already proceeded from the Father when the Son was born, or had not yet proceeded; and when He was born, proceeded from both, wherein there is no such thing as distinct times: just as we have been able to ask, in a case where we do find times, that the will proceeds from the human mind first, in order that that may be sought which, when found, may be called offspring; which offspring being already brought forth or born, that will is made perfect, resting in this end, so that what had been its desire when seeking, is its love when enjoying; which love now proceeds from both, i.e. from the mind that begets, and from the notion that is begotten, as if from parent and offspring? These things it is absolutely impossible to ask in this case, where nothing is begun in time, so as to be perfected in a time following. Wherefore let him who can understand the generation of the Son from the Father without time, understand also the procession of the Holy Spirit from both without time. And let him who can understand, in that which the Son says, As the Father has life in Himself, so has He given to the Son to have life in Himself, not that the Father gave life to the Son already existing without life, but that He so begot Him apart from time, that the life which the Father gave to the Son by begetting Him is co-eternal with the life of the Father who gave it: let him, I say, understand, that as the Father has in Himself that the Holy Spirit should proceed from Him, so has He given to the Son that the same Holy Spirit should proceed from Him, and be both apart from time: and that the Holy Spirit is so said to proceed from the Father as that it be

*********understood that His proceeding also from the Son, is a property derived by the Son from the Father. For if the Son has of the Father whatever He has, then certainly He has of the Father, that the Holy Spirit proceeds also from Him.***********

But let no one think of any times therein which imply a sooner and a later; because these things are not there at all. How, then, would it not be most absurd to call Him the Son of both: when, just as generation from the Father, without any changeableness of nature, gives to the Son essence, without beginning of time; so procession from both, without any changeableness of nature, gives to the Holy Spirit essence without beginning of time? For while we do not say that the Holy Spirit is begotten, yet we do not therefore dare to say that He is unbegotten, lest any one suspect in this word either two Fathers in that Trinity, or two who are not from another. For the Father alone is not from another, and therefore He alone is called unbegotten, not indeed in the Scriptures, but in the usage of disputants, who employ such language as they can on so great a subject. And the Son is born of the Father; and the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father principally, the Father giving the procession without any interval of time, yet in common from both [Father and Son]. But He would be called the Son of the Father and of the Son, if— a thing abhorrent to the feeling of all sound minds— both had begotten Him. Therefore the Spirit of both is not begotten of both, but proceeds from both."

Dave Armstrong said...

Thanks for the passage in context (a rare treat in this discussion).

Now, you wrote, in interpreting the above:

"Augustine argues for the 'deity' of Christ by appealing to his causality (Because the father eternally begets the Son-Causes the Son), that is, his action of producing the Holy Spirit (Filioque). If causality, production of a divine person, is necessary for 'deity' the Holy Spirit is not deity because he doesn't cause any divine person."

But there is a slight problem in your presentation. The problem is that, in this section (perhaps there is something before or after it), St. Augustine is not arguing for the divinity of Christ, but rather, for the filioque.

That changes everything, in terms of your argument. The "proof" for the thing you are arguing for is nonexistent in the passage. More caricatures of St. Augustine's views . . .

You say he is arguing for Christ's deity by claiming that the Holy Spirit proceeds from him.

But what he actually is arguing, is that the spirit proceeds from him, not as a proof that He is God, but as a proof that He has life in Himself, just as the Father does, and that there is a certain analogy of Son ---> Spirit to Father ---> Son.

You simply read into his position what you want to see; not what is actually in the passage. This is par for the course of this whole discussion:

1)Things are read into Scripture that aren't there.

2) Things are read into Catholic dogma that aren't there, when we actually read the dogmas.

3) And now things are read into patristic statements that aren't there, either, and all these wild disconnected speculations are mad, based on a complete lack of documented evidence thus far.

You say, "causality, production of a divine person, is necessary for 'deity' the Holy Spirit" -- yet St. Augustine never uses such an argument at all (in this passage). He doesn't even assert that Jesus is God because the Spirit proceeds from Him as well as from the Father, let alone this being a "necessary" characteristic in order for Him to be God at all.

I read the passage four times and could not ever find in it what you are claiming is present. You'll have to do better than this to prove your case. As it is, you are grossly misrepresenting st. Augustine, and if you can't see that (referring to this instance alone), then it's an even greater difficulty in your viewpoint than I imagined before I saw this astonishing "proof".

Dave Armstrong said...

"mad" in #3 is supposed to be "made." LOL

Dave Armstrong said...

The big dispute, of course, is over the filioque, not monarchia. If St. Augustine is to be bashed and pilloried for this, then let's include also many eastern fathers who basically agreed with these conceptions:

(1) St. Athanasius (d. 373), in at least three places, refers to the "dependence in origination of the Spirit in the Son." He uses the expression "para tou Logou".

(2) St. Epiphanius (367-403) refers to the Spirit as proceeding from the Father and receiving from the Son. He also said that the Spirit is ("has his consubstantial being") from the Father and the Son.

(3) St. Cyril of Alexandria (d. 444) used a great variety of formulae to express the relationship between the Spirit and the Son:

The Spirit is proper to the Son

He comes from the Son

He proceeds from the Son

He proceeds from the Father and the Son

He proceeds from the Father through the Son

(4) St. Maximus the Confessor uses the language of "through the Son." He also used the expression: dia mesou tou Logou, "by means of the Word."

(5) St. Gregory of Nyssa and St. John of Damascus also referred to a "procession from the Father through the Son."

Thorough documentation for all of the above in a paper hosted on my site for almost 15 years now:

http://socrates58.blogspot.com/2006/01/catholic-orthodox-dialogue-on-filioque.html

Drake Shelton said...

Dave (A),

“That changes everything, in terms of your argument. The "proof" for the thing you are arguing for is nonexistent in the passage. More caricatures of St. Augustine's views . . . ”

I disagree. Augustine says, “For if the Son has of the Father whatever He has” That is linking his argument for the deity of Christ to the filioque.

Let me put it into an earlier and a later context. In Book 7 Chapter 3 [Chapter 3.— Why the Son Chiefly is Intimated in the Scriptures by the Name of Wisdom, While Both the Father and the Holy Spirit are Wisdom. That the Holy Spirit, Together with the Father and the Son, is One Wisdom] Section 4, in arguing for the deity of the Son says,

“And therefore Christ is the power and wisdom of God, because He Himself, being also power and wisdom, is from the Father, who is power and wisdom; as He is light of the Father, who is light, and the fountain of life with God the Father, who is Himself assuredly the fountain of life. For with You, He says, is the fountain of life, and in Your light shall we see light. Because, as the Father has life in Himself, so has He given to the Son to have life in Himself: “

http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/130107.htm

Later at 15.27.48 he connects the use of this phrase to the filioque saying,

“For we cannot say that the Holy Spirit is not life, while the Father is life, and the Son is life: and hence as the Father, while He has life in Himself, has given also to the Son to have life in Himself; so has He given also to Him that life should proceed from Him, as it also proceeds from Himself. I have transferred this from that sermon into this book, but I was speaking to believers, not to unbelievers.”

http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/130115.htm

David Waltz said...

Hi Dave,

I have about 45 minutes before I have to head out for a meeting...there is so much I would like to comment on, but for now, I can only address one issue. Hopefully, I will have some time this afternoon for further dialogue, but it may be tomorrow...

Yesterday, you posted:

==You seem to see a contradiction between Newman's statement of 1833 and his later 1872 observations. I search in vain to see any such thing. You cite a small portion. But Newman is discussing the matter in the context of four aspects of the Trinity: 1) Divine Triad, 2) Unity, 3) Monarchy, and 4) Circumincessio. Hence, at the end of the paragraph from which you drew your quotation, Newman ties the notion in with circumincession, precisely as I did in my replies:==

Me: I do NOT "see a contradiction between Newman's statement of 1833 and his later 1872 observations", but rather I see a contradiction between your reading of the 1833 selection you provided, and what Newman actually taught. That is why I provided the 1872 quote, for it expands and clarifies what he wrote in 1833. You stated:

== I was mainly disagreeing with your contention that only the Father can be entitled "the one God." In one of your papers you cited at least a few eastern Church fathers who made the same point (and I made mine before I read those, so inadvertently echoed their thinking).

I thought I showed by my biblical examples that we can't just go by a phrase, but also have to exegete more deeply and look into what it means in context, with appropriate cross-referencing (i.e., the stuff of systematic theology).

When I did that, I demonstrated that in two instances of the Father being called "the one God", all the attributes included in the definition in context were also possessed by the Son.==

Me: The core substance of the concept of the Monarchia of God the Father is that it is He, and He alone, who is the "one God". Your attempts to give the concept/title of the "one God" to the Son (and I assume the HS also), are inherently flawed. All you have done is provide generic commonality between the 3 persons of the Godhead, while ignoring the fundamental, core difference between God the Father and the other 2 persons. Newman, echoing the Bible, early CF's, and the Nicene Creed reserves the title of the Monarchia to God the Father alone. That is why he stated that:

"The Monarchia : that is, that of the Three the Father is emphatically, (and with a singular distinction from the Other Two, as the πηγὴ θεότητος) spoken of as God."

Note that this "singular distinction from the Other Two" lies in the fact that God the Father is "the πηγὴ θεότητος". It is this "singular distinction from the Other Two" which lies behind the restriction of the title "one God" to the Father alone. It is why the Bible restricts the title "one God" to the Father, and why it makes a clear distinction between the one FROM whom are all things, and the one THROUGH whom are all things. It is also why it is an error to give the Son the title autotheos, for the Father alone is "the πηγὴ θεότητος".

And lastly, it is why most Western/Latin theologians fall into error when they attempt to identify the Son (and HS) as the "one God", or the Trinity as a whole as the "one God", or the divine essence, as the "one God"—all these attempts contradict the teaching of the Monarchia of God the Father which flows from the fact that God the Father is "the πηγὴ θεότητος".

Sincerely hope that I have identified for all why the concept of the Monarchia of God the Father is crucial to a correct understanding of the doctrine of the Trinity.


Grace and peace,

David

Dave Armstrong said...

Hi David,

Good answer, but I have dealt with, already, most of what you say, in several different ways.

You continue to bypass the various biblical arguments I have made. For example, you write, "It is why the Bible restricts the title 'one God' to the Father, and why it makes a clear distinction between the one FROM whom are all things, and the one THROUGH whom are all things."

I already showed that you need to get to what "one God" means. If you do that, you see nearly all of His attributes are also true of the Son.

Even in this very example, you ignored a text I already produced, showing that the language of "through" is also applied to the Father, and not just to the Son:

Romans 11:36 For from him and through him and to him are all things.

The same is said of Jesus:

Colossians 1:16 for in him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or authorities -- all things were created through him and for him.

But you go blithely on in your argument, as if I had never shown that verse to you: as if it isn't there in the Bible at all.

In other words, we see perichoresis / circumincession in play all over the place. But for some reason you (over against Newman, as I also demonstrated) want to ignore that and stress monarchia exclusively.

I have already shown how monarchia is part of Catholic dogma, in terms of procession and generation. That is not at issue. I don't dispute that. I only disputed the argument about "one God" and an overly sweeping statement you made about arche.

So you beat to death the thing that Catholics agree upon, while ignoring other equally relevant considerations in theology proper.

You cite Newman, as if he is somehow against me, when in fact he is expressing Catholic dogma, which I wholeheartedly espouse: whatever it teaches.

The historical problem is the distortion of Catholic teachings by anti-Catholic Orthodox and Protestant factions: something that I deal with on almost a daily basis, as an apologist.

Wouldn't it be nice if folks could at least properly understand the doctrines they ostensibly oppose?

But then I would probably be out of a job. LOL I can barely survive as it is, under Obama's mindless economic policies . . .

Drake Shelton said...

Dave (A),

"If you do that, you see nearly all of His attributes are also true of the Son."

>>>The One God-ness of the Father is not a divine attribute, it is a personal property.

"Wouldn't it be nice if folks could at least properly understand the doctrines they ostensibly oppose?"

>>>Yes, and it would be nice if you would recognize the vast difference between the economic and ontological trinity and the vast difference between generic and numeric unity of substance. This is not simply talking past each other or prejudiced attacks of Catholicism by Zealous Ortho-Protestants. Your view of God is irreconcilably different.

Drake Shelton said...

Dave (A),

Continuing...

My last plea for you to understand the onto-econo distintion in the Trinity is a direct response to your Romans 11:36-Colossians 1:16 appeal that I have addressed here already. I am not sure the context of David's use of "from him", but in the context of this conversation, as I have stated many times before, these verses relate to the economy of salvation while this conversation is referring to the ONTOLOGICAL TRINITY!

Dave Armstrong said...

I was responding to one particular statement of David's: "a clear distinction between the one FROM whom are all things, and the one THROUGH whom are all things."

He made the statement in order to "prove" that "from whom" exclusively applies to the Father (monarchia and "through whom" to the Son.

So I produce Romans 11:36, which shows precisely that "through" is also applied to the father; thus demolishing (I think) this particular argument.

That little mini-discussion stands on its own, no matter what category you attach to it or what box you put it in (ontology, economy or what not). You can give it whatever name you want, or 100 different names. The basic facts remain what they are. It is its own little logical discussion. A claim was made: I responded to it with direct counter-proof from the Bible.

David Waltz said...

Hello again Dave,

Thanks for responding. I am beginning to think that I am a terrible communicator in these combox dialogues, for I it seems that I am unable to bring clarity to the primary issue at stake (i.e. who/what is the "one God"); but given the importance, I shall yet once again make another attempt.

==Dave A. - You continue to bypass the various biblical arguments I have made. For example, you write, "It is why the Bible restricts the title 'one God' to the Father, and why it makes a clear distinction between the one FROM whom are all things, and the one THROUGH whom are all things."==

Me: I see little need to comment on the items we agree upon (e.g. Jesus is called God, is called First and Last, is called Alpha and Omega, participated in the creation of "all things", etc.)

==Dave A. - I already showed that you need to get to what "one God" means. If you do that, you see nearly all of His attributes are also true of the Son.==

Me: Two points, first, early on in this dialogue you stated the Son shared all of the attributes of God the Father, but now (and correctly IMHO) you say "nearly all of His attributes"; and second, you seem to be avoiding the most important distinction between the Father and the Son, namely, that God the Father is "the πηγὴ θεότητος. You have yet to provide an antidote to why this unique property of the Father deservedly restricts the concept/title "one God" to the Father alone.

==Dave A. - Even in this very example, you ignored a text I already produced, showing that the language of "through" is also applied to the Father, and not just to the Son:

Romans 11:36 For from him and through him and to him are all things.

The same is said of Jesus:

Colossians 1:16 for in him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or authorities -- all things were created through him and for him.

But you go blithely on in your argument, as if I had never shown that verse to you: as if it isn't there in the Bible at all.==

Me: The texts you cite (and others like 1 Cor. 8:6) demonstrate the very opposite of what you propose, for even though they speak to the economy of the Trinity (as Drake correctly points out) they still point out an important distinction: the Son is never spoken of in terms of being the πηγὴ (neither economically, nor ontologically), that distinction is reserved for the Father.

Rom. 11:36 ὅτι ἐξ αὐτοῦ καὶ δι' αὐτοῦ καὶ εἰς αὐτὸν τὰ πάντα: αὐτῷ ἡ δόξα εἰς τοὺς αἰῶνας: ἀμήν. (NAS Romans 11:36 For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever. Amen.)

1 Cor. 8:6 ἀλλ' ἡμῖν εἷς θεὸς ὁ πατήρ, ἐξ οὗ τὰ πάντα καὶ ἡμεῖς εἰς αὐτόν, καὶ εἷς κύριος Ἰησοῦς Χριστός, δι' οὗ τὰ πάντα καὶ ἡμεῖς δι' αὐτοῦ. (NAS - 1 Corinthians 8:6 yet for us there is but one God, the Father, from whom are all things, and we exist for Him; and one Lord, Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we exist through Him.)

1 Cor. 11:12 ὥσπερ γὰρ ἡ γυνὴ ἐκ τοῦ ἀνδρός, οὕτως καὶ ὁ ἀνὴρ διὰ τῆς γυναικός: τὰ δὲ πάντα ἐκ τοῦ θεοῦ. (NAS - 1 Corinthians 11:12 For as the woman originates from the man, so also the man has his birth through the woman; and all things originate from God.)

Col 1:16 ὅτι ἐν αὐτῷ ἐκτίσθη τὰ πάντα ἐν τοῖς οὐρανοῖς καὶ ἐπὶ τῆς γῆς, τὰ ὁρατὰ καὶ τὰ ἀόρατα, εἴτε θρόνοι εἴτε κυριότητες εἴτε ἀρχαὶ εἴτε ἐξουσίαι: τὰ πάντα δι' αὐτοῦ καὶ εἰς αὐτὸν ἔκτισται, (NAS - Colossians 1:16 For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities-- all things have been created by Him and for Him.)

cont'd

David Waltz said...

cont'd

In reference to the "creation of all things" the preposition ἐκ (out of/from) is reserved for the Father alone—this is an important distinction which I believe is related to ontological distinction of the Father alone being the πηγὴ θεότητος.

But as Drake points out, what we really need to be focusing on is ontological aspect of the Trinity, not the economic (even though as I point out above that there exists an important distinction in that aspect too). The ontological distinction of the Father alone being the πηγὴ θεότητος needs to be addressed, and quite bluntly, you have not done so.


Grace and peace,

David

Dave Armstrong said...

The ontological distinction of the Father alone being the πηγὴ θεότητος needs to be addressed, and quite bluntly, you have not done so.

This is untrue. I have done so. I agree with you: "I see little need to comment on the items we agree upon."

I agreed in two different ways, and I have also stated that this stuff is Catholic dogma: all of which I accept. But specifically, I did the following:

1) I agreed with the second extensive Newman quote that you initiated (in agreement with what you were saying) and that I expanded upon in a much lengthier citation. He says this there (which is why you cited him). I said also that as far as I knew, what he states is in accordance with Catholic dogma. I have noted more than once the irony or oddity of you quoting Cardinal Newman "against" me (the very person whose quotations I have compiled in my upcoming book), when in fact I totally agree with his sentiments, which are also Catholic dogma. Yet somehow you get this notion that I haven't dealt with πηγὴ θεότητος. I can only shake my head in bewilderment.

2) Secondly, I cited at length the Council of Toledo from 675: straight from Denzinger. It contains the portion:

"And we profess that the Father, indeed, is not begotten, not created but unbegotten. For He from whom both the Son received His nativity and the Holy Spirit His procession takes His origin from no one. Therefore, He is the source and origin of all Godhead . . . "

Now, you yourself defined πηγὴ θεότητος as "the cause/origin/source of deity/divinity".

The Council of Toledo says that the Father "is the source and origin of all Godhead".

Is that good enough; close enough for you, or do we have to play ring around the rosey for another two days for you to accept what I have gladly agreed to several times; or will you now contend that what Toledo says is somehow vastly different: perhaps going back to the Latin, so we can by any means find a disagreement where there is none?

I say, "here is Catholic dogma" and "I agree with it" and it contains this section that says almost exactly what you are contending. So why is it still an issue?

There are enough things to argue about, heaven knows, without ridiculously wrangling over and over about what two parties agree with.

Dave Armstrong said...

"the Son is never spoken of in terms of being the πηγὴ (neither economically, nor ontologically), that distinction is reserved for the Father."

Where is this word applied to the Father in the Bible? I looked it up and I couldn't find it. Maybe I'm missing something:

http://concordances.org/greek/pe_ge__4077.htm

It seems like another instance where you make an argument from a Greek word, but can't back it up from the biblical usage (just as with arche). I don't even know Greek, but it is easy enough to look up in lexicons, whether a word occurs, and how it is used.

So please inform me where this word is used in your sense.

Dave Armstrong said...

In reference to the "creation of all things" the preposition ἐκ (out of/from) is reserved for the Father alone—this is an important distinction which I believe is related to ontological distinction of the Father alone being the πηγὴ θεότητος.

It's true that ἐκ isn't applied to Jesus with regard to creation, and that is an interesting distinction, but it doesn't really change anything, since you once again neglect the consideration of circumincession: a thing that applies to creation like everything else.

Ludwig Ott expresses the Catholic dogma about "The Trinity and Creation" (pp. 82-83):

* * *

The Three Divine persons are one single, common Principle of the Creation. (De fide.)

As the work of Creation, however, exhibits a certain similarity with the proprietates of the First Person, it is usually referred to the father by "appropriation." (Cf. The Apostles' Creed.) . . .

Holy Writ stresses the communal character of the operation of the father and the Son and founds this on their community of Nature. Cf. John 5:19; 14:10 . . . In Holy Writ the work of Redemption is sometimes attributed to the Father, sometimes to the Son Cf. Mt. 11:25; John 1:3; Col. 1:15 et seq.; 1 Corinthians 8:6; Hebr. 1:2.

* * *

Here are the first two passages:

John 5:19 Jesus said to them, "Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of his own accord, but only what he sees the Father doing; for whatever he does, that the Son does likewise.

John 14:10 Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father in me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on my own authority; but the Father who dwells in me does his works.

I would add the following:

John 10:30-32 I and the Father are one." [31] The Jews took up stones again to stone him. [32] Jesus answered them, "I have shown you many good works from the Father;

John 10:38 but if I do them, even though you do not believe me, believe the works, that you may know and understand that the Father is in me and I am in the Father.

Dave Armstrong said...

Now, when it comes to creation, sure: the usual biblical expression (I agree) is the notion of "from / by the Father through the Son," but it is an instance of biblical paradox. They both create, and it could be said of either one that they are the Creator.

This sort of "both/and" paradox is all over the place: in the many instances where Paul says he is "saving" people (when we know that ultimately God is doing it), or in a typically Pauline statement like:

1 Corinthians 15:10 On the contrary, I worked harder than any of them, though it was not I, but the grace of God which is with me.

Or, Paul refers to being "co-workers" with God.

It's the same with creation. Scripture bears out the Catholic dogma. God the Father created; God the Son created; God the Holy Spirit created.

Lastly, an argument I used to use with the JWs 30 years ago comes from Isaiah 44:24: ". . . I am the LORD, who made all things, who stretched out the heavens alone,
who spread out the earth -- Who was with me?"

They used to argue that Jesus was created Himself, then He created the world. So I would spring this on them, saying only God did it, and no one was with Him. Thus, Jesus is God. But they deny that, so they have to deny the inspired revelation.

It applies in a similar way here: If God the Father, as the Jews construed Him in a non-trinitarian way, was Creator, and He alone, then how is it that the NT shows that it was through Jesus, and that He is also described as Creator?

The solution is that Jesus was also Creator just like the Father; else it is a glaring biblical contradiction. The Catholic dogma is shown again to be biblically supported (as always).

Job 9:8 refers to God "who alone stretched out the heavens."

Malachi 2:10 states: "Have we not all one father? Has not one God created us?"

In Hebrews 1:10 God the Father says that God the Son was the Creator: "And, "Thou, Lord, didst found the earth in the beginning,
and the heavens are the work of thy hands;"

Dave Armstrong said...

Two points, first, early on in this dialogue you stated the Son shared all of the attributes of God the Father, but now (and correctly in my humble opinion) you say "nearly all of His attributes";

So what? It was simply an instance of making a general statement and then realizing that important qualifications were left out. It isn't as if I changed my mind on anything. No biggie . . .

David Waltz said...

Good day Dave,

You posted:

==The Council of Toledo says that the Father "is the source and origin of all Godhead".

Is that good enough; close enough for you, or do we have to play ring around the rosey for another two days for you to accept what I have gladly agreed to several times; or will you now contend that what Toledo says is somehow vastly different: perhaps going back to the Latin, so we can by any means find a disagreement where there is none?==

When have I ever written that I somehow disagree with the selection from the Council of Toledo that you have provided? Fact is, I have not, because my take on this issue is identical with that selection. It is also identical with what the Nicene Creed says; when you put what the Council of Toledo says, with what the Nicene Creed says, you have my position: "I believe in one God, the Father", and that this one God "is the source and origin of all Godhead"—this is my position Dave.

Now, you say you agree with the above, if you do then there is no argument, which leaves me scratching my head over why you have produced over a dozen posts which take issue with my position—this is quite confusing to me.

With that said, I suspect that your disagreement with me lies not with what it written in the Nicene Creed and the Council of Toledo, but rather, with YOUR additions to those clear teachings.

QUESTION: in YOUR view, who/what is the "one God"?


Grace and peace,

David

Drake Shelton said...

Dave w,

He has dodged so many issues here I doubt he will answer you. If he admits that the father is the source/origo then he has to distinguish attributes from properties-causality not being a divine attribute but a personal property of the father. In this case ontological eternal causality is not in the Son and he has to back away from Filioque. As I proved Augustine clearly argued for the deity of Christ by means of causality/filioque. Now Dave is caught in a tangled web he spun.

David Waltz said...

==Dave A. - "the Son is never spoken of in terms of being the πηγὴ (neither economically, nor ontologically), that distinction is reserved for the Father."

Where is this word applied to the Father in the Bible?==

Me: The term itself is not used with reference to God the Father, but the concept is. Newman employs the term in reference to the Father alone, as do a number of the Greek Church Fathers.

==Dave A. - It seems like another instance where you make an argument from a Greek word, but can't back it up from the biblical usage (just as with arche).==

Me: ??? I got the term from Newman.

==Dave A. - I don't even know Greek, but it is easy enough to look up in lexicons, whether a word occurs, and how it is used.==

Me: I assumed that you read Greek—my bad—I will keep this in mind in my future dialogue with you.

As for the πηγὴ when used in conjuction with θεότητος, as I mentioned above, Newman employs it, as do a number of the Greek Church Fathers. It is equal to Latin employed by the Council of Toledo:

πηγὴ = fons ; origo

θεότητος = totius divinitatis


Grace and peace,

David

David Waltz said...

Hi Drake,

You wrote:

==If he admits that the father is the source/origo then he has to distinguish attributes from properties-causality not being a divine attribute but a personal property of the father. In this case ontological eternal causality is not in the Son and he has to back away from Filioque. As I proved Augustine clearly argued for the deity of Christ by means of causality/filioque. Now Dave is caught in a tangled web he spun.==

Me: Agreed.

BTW, the Council of Toledo (675 - a local council of only 17 bishops) which he provided a selection from, while affirming that the Father is the πηγὴ θεότητος (Latin: Fons ergo ipse et origo est totius divinitatis), it contradicts the Nicene Creed, for in its opening we read:

"We confess and believe that the holy and ineffable Trinity, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, is one God by nature, of one substance, of one nature as also of one majesty and power."

The "one God" is no longer the Father, but the Trinity.


Grace and peace,

David

Dave Armstrong said...

This dialogue has exhausted itself, seeing that now I have to clarify for the third, fourth, fifth time that I agree with many of your contentions, or have to reiterate what I have already stated / argued (often more than once), and seeing that my views are otherwise repeatedly misrepresented.

Now it is claimed that I have "dodged" many things, when in fact I have systematically replied (as anyone who reads the entire exchange can clearly see), and quite the opposite is true: both of you have ignored quite a bit of what I have written, as shown in behavior / rhetoric described in my first paragraph.

When that happens, true dialogue has ceased, and thus, also my interest in pursuing whatever little is left of the remnants of true dialogue, and the ships-passing-in-the-night caricatures of same.

Nevertheless, despite the sour ending, it was truly fun and interesting for a while, and I enjoyed it, and thank you for the input and stimulation. Credit where it is due, but I'm done with this. It's no longer fun: now it is boring and tendentious and annoying, because true dialogue has ceased and the name-calling has set in.

In any event, I've preserved virtually all of it on my blog.

David Waltz said...

Hi Dave,

Sorry to hear that you have chosen to cease participation in this thread. I want you to know that I have sincerely appreciated the time and effort you have given us.

For the 'record', I think it prudent to comment briefly on a few of the items from your last post.

==Dave A. - This dialogue has exhausted itself, seeing that now I have to clarify for the third, fourth, fifth time that I agree with many of your contentions, or have to reiterate what I have already stated / argued (often more than once), and seeing that my views are otherwise repeatedly misrepresented.==

Me: I do not believe I have misrepresented your views even once, let alone "repeatedly".

==Dave A. - Now it is claimed that I have "dodged" many things, when in fact I have systematically replied (as anyone who reads the entire exchange can clearly see), and quite the opposite is true: both of you have ignored quite a bit of what I have written, as shown in behavior / rhetoric described in my first paragraph.==

Me: I have tried to focus on the major differences between our respective views, rather than dwell on those things we are in agreement on. Since I have no argument with a good portion of what you have written, I guess it could be said there is a certain sense to your charge that "have ignored quite a bit of what [you] have written". But, I deny the charge of "rhetoric".

==Dave A. - Nevertheless, despite the sour ending, it was truly fun and interesting for a while, and I enjoyed it, and thank you for the input and stimulation. Credit where it is due, but I'm done with this. It's no longer fun: now it is boring and tendentious and annoying, because true dialogue has ceased and the name-calling has set in.==

Me: Thanks again for taking the time to participate. I hope you know that it was never my intent to offend you (I can't recall any "name-calling" on my part), and that you are always welcome here.


God bless,

David

Iohannes said...

Gents,

Sorry to pop in when I haven't time to read through the full thread. In regard to the five bolded passages from Dave Armstrong's first post, I think there is reason to doubt whether Christ is called ο θεος as such in any of them. Use of the article is sometimes obligatory in Greek; and when not strictly required, it can nonetheless be the preferred form on stylistic grounds. As a consequence, the article can be present without its having the semantic force of ho + noun. This is likely the case in John 20:28, where the article is expected in the vocatival nominative, and where it's also natural for the personal pronoun to go into the predicate position. I've discussed this verse and 1 John 5:20 before at AF in several comments here. Suffice it to say, I am not a Greek expert, but in debate over the monarchia I would caution my fellow non-experts against making theological hay of these verses.

Blessings in Christ,
John

Rory said...

I have read through everything and listened carefully to all of the presentation by Mr. Shelton.

I certainly reject the motive assigned by you, Mr. Shelton, as to how Western Catholicism chose to follow Plotinus, because it is in your eyes, supportive of the papacy. If that is what you get to believe when you reject "Romanism, you have my sympathy.

Mr. Shelton, you said:

"He has dodged so many issues here I doubt he will answer you."

Me:

I tend to think that you and Dave W. took Mr. Armstrong by surprise with the distinctions about attributes and properties, economy and ontology. First, I think you fail to appreciate how difficult the concepts are for some of us. Additionally, you seem to fail to appreciate how skeptical we might be as to whether you have thought of everything.

Mr. Shelton:

"If he admits that the father is the source/origo then he has to distinguish attributes from properties-causality not being a divine attribute but a personal property of the father."

Me:

Couldn't have that could we? The papacy would fail.

Mr. Shelton:

"In this case ontological eternal causality is not in the Son and he has to back away from Filioque. As I proved Augustine clearly argued for the deity of Christ by means of causality/filioque. Now Dave is caught in a tangled web he spun."

Me: I think you are overconfident in having excluded all possibilities. There is no way Mr. Armstrong agrees that you have clearly proved how Augustine argued. Even if the filioque was the only reason Augustine gave in his treatise for the deity of the Son, do you think it is the only possible argument?

Neither you nor any of the parties in almost 2,000 years who have attempted to exclude one or the other teaching has been successful. While I agree that Dave Armstrong failed to distinguish between economy and ontology in his biblical arguments, I am in agreement with his "sensus catholicus". I think he sensed that there is truth on both sides of the equation.

Eastern Rite Catholics in communion with Rome are permitted to recite the Creed sans filioque. Imagine that. They believe in the papacy without the theological support of Plotinus' monadical hierarchy? How could that be?

However it happens, Roman Catholics are not in a position to say that the Eastern view is wrong. Being unable to pronounce either side wrong, I am willing to speculate that both sides are in their own way, correct. My suspicion is that there is a true sense in which the Spirit proceeds from the Father alone, and a true but different sense in which the Spirit proceeds from the Son as well. If you describe two sides of the same coin, the descriptions will be different.

Do you think this doctrine is complete on either side? Is revelation completely exhausted in 2012? Someone now understands it with perfect finality? I cannot think so. There is a resolution to the quandary. But it won't come from those dedicated to believing in one side of the coin at the expense of the other.

Drake Shelton said...

Rory,


“because it is in your eyes, supportive of the papacy.”

I would like for people to think that I am smart enough to have thought that up in my own eyes, but I must confess I got it from reading Joseph P Farrell and Paul Rorem’s book on Pseudo Dionysius.

“Even if the filioque was the only reason Augustine gave in his treatise for the deity of the Son, do you think it is the only possible argument?”

Well I don’t think it is an argument at all, because eternal-causality is a personal property of the Father alone. Second, I do believe in the deity/divine/uncreated nature of the Son and the eternal generation of the Son with its foundational nature/will distinction answers so many philosophical issues, even secular issues, my fingers hurt to even think about typing them all out. I believe his deity can be proved from scripture. I am a Protestant and believe in Sola Scriptura, at least as Samuel Rutherford explains it in Free Disputation. I hope I answered the question.

“ I am in agreement with his "sensus catholicus". I think he sensed that there is truth on both sides of the equation.”

I am open to that and I am open to the ecclesiastical methods Athanasius used to bring people together on this as my buddy Jnorm pointed out in this earlier thread on this issue: http://articulifidei.blogspot.com/2010/12/trinity-clear-biblical-teaching-or-post.html

I lost my membership and my ministerial career in a Presbyterian Church I loved dearly over this issue. I don’t take these issues lightly.

However, what I am not open to is the Scholastic Doctrine of Absolute Divine Simplicity and the Filioque. Those are simply doctrines of men that have no Scriptural warrant whatsoever.

David Waltz said...

Hi Drake and Rory,

I am finally able to get back on the internet; thanks to gale force winds here, we have been out of power...

On 03-10-12 Rory posted:

==Neither you nor any of the parties in almost 2,000 years who have attempted to exclude one or the other teaching has been successful. While I agree that Dave Armstrong failed to distinguish between economy and ontology in his biblical arguments, I am in agreement with his "sensus catholicus". I think he sensed that there is truth on both sides of the equation.

Eastern Rite Catholics in communion with Rome are permitted to recite the Creed sans filioque. Imagine that. They believe in the papacy without the theological support of Plotinus' monadical hierarchy? How could that be?

However it happens, Roman Catholics are not in a position to say that the Eastern view is wrong. Being unable to pronounce either side wrong, I am willing to speculate that both sides are in their own way, correct. My suspicion is that there is a true sense in which the Spirit proceeds from the Father alone, and a true but different sense in which the Spirit proceeds from the Son as well. If you describe two sides of the same coin, the descriptions will be different.==

Me: I find it more than interesting that "Eastern Rite Catholics in communion with Rome are permitted to recite the Creed sans filioque." I am also intrigued by your suggestion that there may be, "a true sense in which the Spirit proceeds from the Father alone, and a true but different sense in which the Spirit proceeds from the Son as well." Could you expand on this?

Drake, in your response to Rory, you penned:

== I am open to that and I am open to the ecclesiastical methods Athanasius used to bring people together on this as my buddy Jnorm pointed out in this earlier thread on this issue...==

But a bit later said:

== However, what I am not open to is the Scholastic Doctrine of Absolute Divine Simplicity and the Filioque. Those are simply doctrines of men that have no Scriptural warrant whatsoever.==

Me: I am a bit confused, could you explain what exactly you are "open to"? Further, do you completely reject Rory's suggestion that there may be, " a true but different sense in which the Spirit proceeds from the Son as well"?


Grace and peace,

David

Drake Shelton said...

David,

"I am a bit confused, could you explain what exactly you are "open to"? Further, do you completely reject Rory's suggestion that there may be, " a true but different sense in which the Spirit proceeds from the Son as well"?"

In a previous post that I linked to Jnorm said quoting Leo Donald Davis,


"Athanasius' main concern was to reconcile the moderates and the Nicenes by getting behind party catchwords to the deeper meaning of each position. He recommended asking those who held three hypostases if they meant three in the sense of three subsistent beings, alien in nature like gold, silver and brass, as did the radical Arians. If they answered no, he asked if they meant by three hypostasis a Trinity, truly existing with truly substantial Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, and if they acknowledged one Godhead. If they said yes, he allowed them into communion. Then he turned to those who spoke of one hypostasis and asked if they meant this in the sense of Sabellius, as if the Son were not substantial and the Holy Spirit impersonal. If they said no, he asked them if they meant by one hypostasis one substance or ousia because the Son is of the substance of the Father. If their answer was yes, he accepted them into communion. Finally, in a statesmanlike fashion Athanasius brought out the truth each side was fighting for and showed that between the moderates and the Nicenes there was really no ground for disagreement."

Saint Athanasius was more concerned about the meaning of words behind the two parties. And this is what brought about unity.


I would be willing to use that formula, but one thing I notice is that there is no talk of the Filioque in this context and no talk of ADS which would have to be settled. I would add the generic/numeric issue and if they affirmed the latter I could not enter into communion with them.

"Further, do you completely reject Rory's suggestion that there may be, " a true but different sense in which the Spirit proceeds from the Son as well"

The procession of the Spirit through the Son is something completely economical, which is an issue neither he nor dave would touch so he would have to commit to specific language about that before I commented further.

Rory said...

Hi Dave,

You asked me to expand on the following comment:

"Eastern Rite Catholics in communion with Rome are permitted to recite the Creed sans filioque."

Rory:
This means that a Roman Catholic is committed to believing in the filioque. But it cannot follow, at this time, that we are committed to pronouncing the Eastern understanding as heretical. It seems that it might even be probable that both are in different respects, true.

You also asked:
I am also intrigued by your suggestion that there may be, "a true sense in which the Spirit proceeds from the Father alone, and a true but different sense in which the Spirit proceeds from the Son as well."

Rory:
I listened to Drake's argument and was not unimpressed. But it seems impossible to me that something as serious as church affiliation should depend upon the ability of God's flock to be able to note and gain a firm grasp of the philosophical distinctions that Drake was trying to draw.

It sounded great and the visual aids were helpful too. But I don't have enough confidence in such a polemic to leave the Catholic Church over it. If I were in Drake's position, I wouldn't have enough confidence in my own ability to have covered all my bases to leave a church I "dearly loved" over it. It HAS to be easier to discern where to go to church than for every sheep of the flock to understand Plato, Neo-Platonism, and Augustine's Monads.

At any rate, for this sheep, I will go with the method our Lord suggested "By their fruits..." You may disagree with my evaluation of fruit, but not with my method.

I confess, I would have taken his refutation of the Western view a little more seriously had he not tipped his hand so frequently about why he wants to believe not just that the East is correct, but also that the West is wrong. I have never in my life heard or read where the Catholic Church uses the Western view of the Godhead as an argument for the papacy. I am astonished Drake, that you could think that the Western fathers who went in this direction, did so out of a conscious effort to "buttress" the papacy. I think the day will come when you will find it astonishing as well. You have clearly not finished your journey.

---to be continued

Rory said...

So...I am not able to offer philosophical helps for "the sense" in which the Spirit proceeds from the Father, and the sense in which the Spirit proceeds from both. Philosophy is only a handmaid. If she is helpful in explaining the truths of revelation that is fine. If not, who can be surprised?

God is One and God is Three. It took some time to reconcile the propositions philosophically. Must I be committed to saying that if the Eastern and Western views of the procession of the Spirit are at this time unreconciled, that they are irreconcilable? It would have been a big mistake for first or second century or third century Christians to line up on either side saying "I believe God is One", or "I believe God is Three." It appears that you two, Dave and Drake, are in danger of making a prematurely similar mistake in the 21st Century A.D.

I don't know how to refute Drake's philosophical argument, but I am not troubled. That ISN'T my vocation. So far, I can be content in the knowledge that God has called no one to do it since I can be faithful to Rome believing in the truth of both.

Two Scriptures (there are probably more) give clues to the "would-be-reconciler of the doctrines as to different ways in which the Spirit is associated with and proceeds from the Son as well as the Father:

"And I send the promise of my Father upon you: but stay you in the city till you be endued with power from on high."---Luke 24:49

Speaking of the Holy Ghost, as a promise, He comes from the Father.

"And because you are sons, God hath sent the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying: Abba, Father."---Gal. 4:6

Speaking of the Holy Ghost, there is some sense in which the Third Person is also "the Spirit of His Son".

I suggest that a soul of great philosophical prowess must be combined with a greater holiness and faith. He who would resolve this quandary will be undoubtedly an individual of great faith and intellect, who sees two propositions that seem irreconcilable and who humbly believes them both...before he begins his ardent quest. One who who believes in order to understand.

Because of its willingness to tolerate BOTH PROPOSITIONS, the Church with which I am affiliated seems to me to be the only one in the world calculated to produce such a soul. Unlike other church communities, both Protestant and Orthodox, the Roman Catholic is not in need of polemics. We are not in need of finding the error in the other position. We are in need of finding the best way to allow that both can be true to the satisfaction of all reasonable parties of good will.

With best wishes and prayers for you both. I know you are seeking truth, but I am suggesting there is an easier way to find it.

Rory

David Waltz said...

Hi Drake,

Thanks much for the clarifications; your response is pretty much how I undeerstood/understand what your position is, but I wanted you to explain it further, so that others who may read this thread would understand as well.

Your position concerning the Filioque is identical to my own, one can (and I would add should) accept that there is an economic sense/understanding to the teaching that the Son 'sends' the Holy Spirit; but, as you also point out, I think Scripture (and the early Church) rules out an ontological sense/understanding to the teaching that the Holy Spirit is from the Father and the Son, for the Father, and the Father alone is the one/sole beginning/cause (μοναχία, monarchia), one/sole font/fountain or principle of Divinity (πηγὴ θεότητος).

Now, with that said, do you think that ALL the 'Ecumenical' creeds and decrees accepted as authoritative by the RCC that touch on the Filioque could be understood in an economic sense only; or, must they include an ontological sense as well?


Grace and peace,

David

David Waltz said...

Hi Rory,

Sincerely appreciate the time you are taking to share your thoughts we us. In your latest post, you wrote:

==God is One and God is Three. It took some time to reconcile the propositions philosophically.==

Me: I accept the above as long as one does not loose sight of the fact that in a very real sense, "there is but one God, the Father."

==Must I be committed to saying that if the Eastern and Western views of the procession of the Spirit are at this time unreconciled, that they are irreconcilable?==

Me: I would say that it depends on whether or not (as I mentioned to Drake) , "ALL the 'Ecumenical' creeds and decrees accepted as authoritative by the RCC that touch on the Filioque could be understood in an economic sense only; or, must they include an ontological sense as well."

==It would have been a big mistake for first or second century or third century Christians to line up on either side saying "I believe God is One", or "I believe God is Three." It appears that you two, Dave and Drake, are in danger of making a prematurely similar mistake in the 21st Century A.D.==

Me: I sincerely hope not; and for the record, I remain very open (and I believe teachable), to further clarification/s from ALL the various sides on this issue.


God bless,

David

Iohannes said...

Hi David,

I was thinking about the filioque this morning and had a question for you:

If we assume the Spirit proceeds from the Son as well as the Father, how are we to understand the anointing to which the title Christ refers?

It seems strange that the Father should anoint the incarnate Son with the Spirit if the Spirit has been the Spirit of the Son from all eternity. Am I missing something?

Blessings in Christ,
John

David Waltz said...

Hi John,

So good to see you back at AF; in your last post, you asked:

==If we assume the Spirit proceeds from the Son as well as the Father, how are we to understand the anointing to which the title Christ refers?==

Good question: if one believes in an ontological 'proceeding' of the HS from the Father and the Son, I suppose you could appeal to the two-natures doctrine and the kenosis, with the anointing being directly related to His human offices (i.e. prophet, priest and king).

==It seems strange that the Father should anoint the incarnate Son with the Spirit if the Spirit has been the Spirit of the Son from all eternity. Am I missing something?==

Do my above comments eliminate the "strange[ness]"?

But then, if one rejects an ontological understanding of the 'proceeding' of the HS from the Father and the Son, I suspect such questions would not come to mind. What do you think?


Grace and peace,

David

Iohannes said...

Hi David,

Thanks for your suggestion. It was Gal. 4:6 that set me to thinking about this the other day. Clearly there is an economical sense in which the Spirit is Christ's, and that seems to me sufficient for explaining the NT's occasional ascription of the Spirit to the Son. Adding an ontological sense seems unnecessary and also peculiar, in that if the Spirit is the Son's eternally, then the incarnate Son is given and anointed with his own Spirit.

Kenosis has some promise as an explanation, but I'm not sure it can do the job, since eternal personal relations were not suspended at the incarnation. Jesus in his estate of humiliation continued all the while to be the eternal Son of the Father. Presumably, the Spiration would continue as well, unless we take the idea of self-emptying to the extreme.

Have you seen this article by Gary Badcock? I haven't found the full text yet, but the preview looks quite interesting.

In Christ,
John

David Waltz said...

Hello again John,

Thanks for responding; you posted:

==Clearly there is an economical sense in which the Spirit is Christ's, and that seems to me sufficient for explaining the NT's occasional ascription of the Spirit to the Son. Adding an ontological sense seems unnecessary and also peculiar...==

Me: Agreed. For sometime now, I have rejected the "ontological sense", based primarily on Scripture, and the early CFs. And now, Drake seems to have provided solid philosophical arguments as well.

As for Babcock's article, I had not come across yet, so thank you very much for the link. I need to check and see if one of my friends in seminary has access to the full article...


Grace and peace,

David

Ken said...

After all that, and reading it several more times, trying to understand; I still do not understand what the problem is and why David Waltz and Drake Sheldon make such a big deal over the differences between the western view of the Trinity vs. the eastern view.

There is too much intellectual stuff and Greek and Latin terms and too many assumptions that leave regular guys like me not able to grasp what you guys are getting at.

I wish some of you would explain the issues and problems in a better and clearer way. (without using Monarchi, perichosis (sp. ?) etc.)

Bring it down so that others can understand this stuff.

Otherwise you are just "egg heads" talking to one another.

Both sides believe in the Trinity, and both affirm Monotheism, and both affirm some sort of hierarchy and subordination within the Trinity and both affirm that the Son is eternal into the past, as the Word - John 1:1 and 1:18. Given that, I honestly don't understand what the big deal is.

Ryan said...

Ken,

I'm working through this subject as well. I think this article summarizes both sides a bit more clearly than is seen in this thread, even if he leans towards the Western view.

In the course of his chapter on Time and Trinity in Eternal God, Paul Helm makes the following observation:

"How can the Father beget the Son without adversely affecting the equal divinity of each and the divine unity of the pair? It would seem to follow from being begotten (however this is understood) that the Son cannot be equally divine with the Father, in that he cannot be autotheos." (pgs. 284-285)

But the West claims that both the Son and Spirit are autotheos. Steve Hays, for instance, claims this and rejects eternal generation. Whether he like Helm sees a relation between autotheosis and eternal generation, I don't know. But it is interesting and does seem to suggest the importance of this subject, especially when further considered in relation to God and time.

Iohannes said...

Ryan,

Paul Helm considers the topic in more detail here. It's interesting that he should adduce Gregory Nazianzen's theological orations. I imagine he picked up from Torrance the idea that Gregory is more accommodating on the monarchy than other easterners. Brilliant as Torrance was, I think he was mistaken about that. Whatever the truth may be, Gregory plainly affirms in the third oration that the Son is eternally begotten. He argues contra the Eunomians (29.12, 29.15) that this is consistent with the full deity of the Son because, in the language of this thread, begetting and being begotten are personal properties and do not touch the divine essence.

I think you're right to see the autotheos as a key to unlocking these problems, but I'd finesse things a little. The West does not uniformly claim the Son is autotheos. Historically, I think, that's something peculiar to a subset of the Reformed. Other westerners have criticized it, some saying it's doctrinally sound but a misuse of language, others saying it's error and innovation. One might nonetheless argue that Calvin's critics have tended to make the second and third persons autotheos even without using the word.

In Christ,
John

Ryan said...

John, thanks for the the input and link. As I said, I am in the learning stage :)

Ken said...

Ryan and John,
Thanks !

Still very deep stuff and requires lots of thought and time.

I will have to take a lot of time to understand this stuff.

I never realized until Waltz started blogging on this subject that there were so many differences and language complications.

Ken said...

Ryan - are you referring to these blog posts by Steve Hays ? - I read some of it, skipped around; and of what I read, I actually understand that discussion better than the stuff here. In all honesty, it is more direct and plainer speech, of what I have read. If that is what you are referring to; then that was helpful to me in getting a grasp on the issues and why this is even an issue.

http://triablogue.blogspot.com/search?q=Eternal+generation

It seems plain that there is some kind of subordination of roles in the Trinity, as using the wife's submission to her husband, the way Paul uses the Son's submission to the Father, in I Corinthians 11:3.

But the way David Waltz and Drake Sheldon emphasize the "Monarchy" of the Father - that He caused the Son - sounds like "causing Him to come into being" - it sounds kind of Arian to me, as if there was a time when the Son did not exist.

The articles in the Triablogue posts that I found point out that the emphasis on the Monarchy of the Father was what paved the way for Unitarianism and rejection of the Trinity within Liberal Reformed churches (New England, Europe).

"Today I have begotten You" - Psalm 2:7, Hebrews 1:5, 5:5 - would seem to point to Jesus' birth into history through the virgin Mary. The word "today" is difficult - it sound like a time in history, as in the virgin birth.

But, Acts 13:33 seems to point to the resurrection. (in context with Acts 13:30-37).

But the μονογενες (unique one; one of a kind) usage and passages seems to point to the eternal generation of the Son/Word into eternity past.

Did the early creeds understand μονογενες as "only one", "one of a kind", "unique one" ??

Drake makes the point about Muslims not understanding or converting because of the stumbling block of the western Trinity. The problem is that the emphasis on the Monarchy of the Father downplays the Deity of Christ and the Deity of the Holy Spirit, and implies that they are somehow lesser beings and it would imply that Jesus is an Arian or Jehovah's Witness kind of Jesus.

Also just the word "begotten" is a big problem for Muslims, as it implies a husband and wife having sex and procreating a child. "eternal begotten" doesn't help much, it takes lots of explaining and emphasis on "Spirit" and "eternal into the past" and the sun's rays going out from the Sun is a helpful illustration.

Ken said...

Drake and David W. - of course feel free to comment on what I have written above.

David Waltz said...

Hi John, Ken and Ryan,

Some good dialogue over the weekend; unfortunately, I was very busy, with no time for the internet, so I am just now reading your posts.

There are a number of links that you gents have provided (thanks much!), so before I make any further comments, I would like to work through that material. I will try to get back here later today, but it may be tomorrow...


Grace and peace,

David

Drake Shelton said...

David,

"Now, with that said, do you think that ALL the 'Ecumenical' creeds and decrees accepted as authoritative by the RCC that touch on the Filioque could be understood in an economic sense only; or, must they include an ontological sense as well? "

If they understand that the proceeding of the Spirit through the Son or from the Father and Son "as from a single source", to use the classic western phrase, then by definition the proceeding would be of the same nature from the Father as from the Son, namely, an ontological procession. I know of none that don't explain the filioque that way and so yes they have to take it as ontological and completely confuse eternity with time, ontological with economical and that really is the Neoplatonism that we are complaining about. Its not sematic drivle and hair splitting. It is fundamental error.

Drake Shelton said...

Ryan,

""Paul Helm makes the following observation:How can the Father beget the Son without adversely affecting the equal divinity of each and the divine unity of the pair? It would seem to follow from being begotten (however this is understood) that the Son cannot be equally divine with the Father, in that he cannot be autotheos." (pgs. 284-285)"

That is a confusion between person and nature.Causality is a divine property of the Father not a divine attribute.



Iohannes,

"The West does not uniformly claim the Son is autotheos. Historically, I think, that's something peculiar to a subset of the Reformed."

Agreed which was particularly embarrassing, and painful to myself further jettisoning my decision to separate from the Reformed Chruch of which I was a member.


Ken,

"But the way David Waltz and Drake Sheldon emphasize the "Monarchy" of the Father - that He caused the Son - sounds like "causing Him to come into being" - it sounds kind of Arian to me, as if there was a time when the Son did not exist."

It sounds that way because you do not understand the ontological distinction between divine nature and will. The causality and extension of the Son is from the NATURE. The temporal creation is a causality and extension from the WILL.You do not understand this because of the West's insane devotion to Plotinus' absolute divine simplicity.

Ryan said...

"That is a confusion between person and nature.Causality is a divine property of the Father not a divine attribute."

Yes, I believe there are a few things with which you may take issue. But I thought the implicit correlation of the doctrines of eternal generation and a monarchical view of the Trinity by a philosophical-theologian who may not believe either was an interesting admission. I also appreciate his attempt to explain how eternal generation is compatible with an atemporal view of the Trinity (I'll post it later tonight).

Ken said...

Drake,
Thanks for that -

"The causality and extension of the Son is from the NATURE." - so by nature, essence, substance, the Son is caused by the Father - so they are the same nature and both eternal and there is no Arianism in that; good - then it is the same thing as equal in essence, power, and glory; and it seems to me to be proper to speak of the Deity of Christ, that Christ the Son eternally is God, and the second person of the Trinity became flesh (Phil. 2:5-8; John 1:1, 1:14). Ok, so I am understanding it a little better, but it seems they are the same essentially the same on this issue, as long as one explains it carefully, "the causing of the Father" in generating the Son comes from His nature and is eternal, in order to make clear that any kind of Arian Subordination is wrong.


"The temporal creation is a causality and extension from the WILL."

Are you including all creation, and the creation of the human nature/soul of Jesus in the womb of Mary, ? - I would think you are. That the Father decided by will to do this and the Son agreed to voluntarily become flesh and come to save us from our sins, in the incarnation and atonement. Hebrews 2:14-17

But all Trinitarians believe in a hierarchy of the Father - He is the head of Christ - I Cor. 11:3 - so, now, it is all basically the same thing.

Does Calvin's auto-theos mean he said the "Son caused Himself to exist ?" Aseity - ?

But John 5:26 - seems to indicate both the priority and cause the Father makes, but that the Son has life in Himself - but Muslims read that text when they see "He gave to the Son to have life" - it looks kind of Arian to them also, as if there was a time that the Son did not have life in Himself.

I can see why people would object to that (auto-theos) now, once we flesh it all out slowly.

Thanks for slowing things down for me.

Ken said...

.Causality is a divine property of the Father not a divine attribute."

the words "property" and "attribute" seem pretty close - like characteristic, quality, intrinsic nature.

What is the difference?

Ryan said...

Ken,

A property is an individuating characteristic possessed by a divine person (causer and uncaused = Father, eternal generation = Son, eternal procession = Spirit). An attribute is a characteristic shared by the Triune persons (omniscience, omnipotence, etc.). Properties pertain to persons, attributes to nature.

Also, if you're interested, I just wrote a post on how to understand eternal generation in the context of [divine] time[lessness].

Iohannes said...

Ryan,

Thanks for your post on Helm. St. Gregory also gives an atemporalist account of the Son's being coeternal but not unoriginate.

Unless he has changed his mind in the past decade, I think Helm still views eternal generation as a speculative and unnecessary doctrine. If that is so, perhaps his chapter in Eternal God is defending the doctrine's coherence, not its truth?

Drake Shelton said...

Ryan,

"But I thought the implicit correlation of the doctrines of eternal generation and a monarchical view of the Trinity by a philosophical-theologian who may not believe either was an interesting admission."

>>>Agreed




Ken,

"Are you including all creation, and the creation of the human nature/soul of Jesus in the womb of Mary, ? "

>>>Yes


"But all Trinitarians believe in a hierarchy of the Father - He is the head of Christ - I Cor. 11:3 - so, now, it is all basically the same thing."

I doubt that. I do not believe that John Calvin, Lorraine Boettner, Robert Reymond or John Murray believes this. I wrote articles on this here:

http://eternalpropositions.wordpress.com/2011/09/20/more-problems-for-western-trinitarianism-john-murray-confirms-my-suspicion-that-calvin-did-not-believe-the-nicene-creed/

http://eternalpropositions.wordpress.com/2011/09/10/did-john-calvin-believe-the-nicene-creed-i-deny/

David Waltz said...

Hi Ken,

So much is transpiring in this thread, making it a bit difficult for this beachbum to know what I should concentrate on. The links recently provided have sent me back to the 'books' (so to speak). For now, at least, I would like to respond to just a couple of items that 'caught my eye', and then spend a bit more time in research before I make any further contributions.

Back on the 19th, you posted:

[Ken]==It seems plain that there is some kind of subordination of roles in the Trinity, as using the wife's submission to her husband, the way Paul uses the Son's submission to the Father, in I Corinthians 11:3.

But the way David Waltz and Drake Sheldon emphasize the "Monarchy" of the Father - that He caused the Son - sounds like "causing Him to come into being" - it sounds kind of Arian to me, as if there was a time when the Son did not exist.

The articles in the Triablogue posts that I found point out that the emphasis on the Monarchy of the Father was what paved the way for Unitarianism and rejection of the Trinity within Liberal Reformed churches (New England, Europe).==

First, how one can describe the EO understanding of the monarchy of God the Father as "sound[ing] kind of Arian", is quite baffling to me, for NONE of the fundamental tenants of Arianism (i.e. tenants that set Arianism apart from any other theological system) are not present: the Son is not a creature; the Son was not non-existent; the Son is not of different ousia.

Second, the charge that "the emphasis on the Monarchy of the Father was what paved the way for Unitarianism and rejection of the Trinity within Liberal Reformed churches", is without solid evidence. Dr. Sam Waldron's recent post sheds some important light on this issue:

[Sam]== Millard Erickson has warned that in some way the doctrine of the eternal functional subordination of the Son will lead to Arianism. We have seen that there are clear boundaries which set the Nicene doctrine of eternal generation at odds with all forms of Arianism. Eternal generation is the explicitly the reason that the Son of God is “begotten not created” according to the Creed. The same Creed confesses that Christ is “very God…being of one substance with the Father.” Furthermore, we have seen that much different than Arianism the subordination of the Nicene Creed has to do with personal roles and a Platonic hierarchy of being.==

Rest of Sam's post: HERE

Hopefully, this unfounded charge of "Arianism", can be put to rest...


Grace and peace,

David

David Waltz said...

I found Dr. Sam Waldron's 18th installment in his series, "Who's Tampering With the Trinity?", to contain some 'interesting' assessments. The following is a selection:

== As we have seen, Augustine did not teach that the Spirit from the Father and Son equally. What he actually said was that the Father has “given to the Son that the same Spirit should proceed from Him.” In this formula primacy and monarchy of the Father in the procession of the Spirit is maintained.

Quite similarly, John of Damascus in his definitive presentation of the Eastern doctrine of the Trinity taught that the Spirit proceeds from the Father through the Son. Though he rigidly rejected all subordinationism, he thought of the Father as the source of the Godhead. Yet one could say on the basis of his formula that the Spirit proceeds from both the Father and the Son.

Of course, the Western and Eastern views have been and may be understood in quite contrary ways. The Western view may be presented as presenting two ultimate sources for the procession of the Holy Spirit. The Eastern view may be presented as if the Spirit proceeds from the Father in a direction quite divorced from the person and work of the Son. Each of these extremes tends to heresy and, in fact, have been used in the interests of heresy. The extreme Western view denies the primacy of the Father in the Trinity and moves in the direction of Egaliarianism and Modalism. The extreme Eastern view seems to divorce the Son and Spirit and has been used (by Inclusivists like Clark Pinnock) to teach that the Spirit may be active where the Son is not known.==

The rest of the article can be found: HERE


Grace and peace,

David

Ken said...

David,
I am not charging the notion that the Father causes the Son to be Arianism, but I am saying it sounds like it to everyday people, unless you and others explain more and help others understand what you mean.

A lot of this Trinitarian scholarly stuff is so theoretical that regular folks will dismiss it as "too complicated" - that is one of the main objections that Muslims have.

When someone says "The Father causes the Son to be" - there needs to be a lot more explanation of what that means.

Don't you see how that by itself sounds kind of Arian?

One needs to say something like, "The Son by nature flows out of the Father from all eternity past so that the Son always was." (like rays from the Sun) - in order to help others understand this.

Along with the full Deity of all three persons; a clear statement of the three persons in eternal fellowship and relationship and knowing each other in love.

What do you guys think of the illustration of
The Father as Lover
The Son as Beloved - Object of His love
the Spirit as the Love between them
??

Iranian former Muslims have told me that is the best illustration of all - better than H20 (substance of water) in liquid, ice, steam - leads to modalism unless - as one chemist explained to me - that that is possible to have all three forms at the same time in some isotopes.

But a "form" or "mode" is not a person, so Dr. White is right in that all illustrations of the Trinity eventually break down, since the Trinity is completely unique.

thegrandverbalizer19 said...

With the name of Allah, peace be unto those who follow the guidance from their Lord.

I have found all of this to be immensely interesting.

I also like the way the discussion has been handled. Passionate but respectful.

This will all be very useful for me in the near future.

Thank you to all who have contributed to a great discussion.

JESUS CHRIST said...

Ken said trinity is completely unique .With all due respects i want to say that it is a a very polite way of saying that it is illogical and absurd .

It directly contradicts the very basics of logic and mathematics.

This is what is said about trinity by the trinitarians

God is one in essence /existence/being but 3 in person/subsistence , the questions and the problems which arise for this contention are

1)If God is 3 persons how come he is only 1 being?
2)If God is 3 in subsistence how come he is only 1 in existence?
3)If God is 1 being how come he is 3 persons?
4)If God is 1 in existence how come he is 3 in persons?


Water is not the example of trinity as
1)ice,vapor and water are the different physical forms of water at different temperatures arising due to variation in arrangement of molecules at different temperatures .What are the temperature differences which caused the father,son and holy spirit to exist in different forms ?
2)If we remove water or any from in these three forms then others cannot be present .So how is it possible for the son to die and others to remain unaffected by it ?
3)More important is that if a given quantity of water is present and if some part becomes vapor or ice the same volume or part is not present in water.In the same way among father,son and holy spirit if suppose son and holy spirit is derived from father then it implies father lost that part of his to son and holy spirit !

Ken also said all 3 are full deity .Then we have 3 deities not 1 deity as 3 full 100% things make 300% not 100%.

You gave an example of sun rays .It also does not apply as rays of sun itself are not called sun .But Jesus himself is deity apart from Father.

Any example trying to explain trinity fall out

Martin Luther himself said "The great universities have invented manifold distinctions, dreams and fictions by means of which they would explain the Holy Trinity, and have made fools of themselves"

I came on this forum not to ridicule but to tell my beloved Christian brothers and sisters to come back to the Bible where Jesus clearly differentiated himself with the only true God ,listen to him dear brethren.

Drake Shelton said...

I blush to even write the words of your label. It just comes off blasphemous, but your post here is what we call trolling. You obviously did not read what has already been said here and took the opportunity to hawk your arian heresy. PLease read what was already been said.

JESUS CHRIST said...

Drake are your comments towards my post ?.Please let me know.

JESUS CHRIST said...

Drake what are your views on trinity and if you think that iam wrong on trinity can you kindly point out the areas which iam wrong?

Drake Shelton said...

Yes, I was talking about you and I am not addressing you according to your label. Change your name call name dude. For people to address you according to the name of the Son of God is blasphemous.

Why would I repeat myself?

JESUS CHRIST said...

I kept this label because i like Jesus and there is no blasphemy in keeping the name of person one likes .Plus i already told that iam not here to insult or hurt anybody .It is you who addressed my participation in this post as trolling and hawking .I just saw a good discussion going-on in this post and i thought i will share my views in it .

In my post i have shown that the standard concept of trinity does not stand on logic instead it goes against it .It is the standard position of trinity which i addressed not any arian heresy.

Now coming onto your position on trinity let us see does it have a logical appeal .Your view of trinity

"We subordinate at the level of person the Spirit and the Son, BUT NOT THE NATURE"

and

"The term "deity" itself implies that the God of Christianity is not a person but a nature."

Your position on trinity is that father,son and holy spirit are one/same in nature or essence.

According to Oxford advanced learners dictionary 5th edition

ESSENCE is
1)That which makes a thing what it is
2)the most important quality,feature or characteristic

NATURE is
1)basic or typical qualities of a thing

Now if we have father,son and holy spirit with same essence or nature .Then we have 3 beings with same basic defining qualities.

Now coming on to your position "The term "deity" itself implies that the God of Christianity is not a person but a nature."

If God of Christianity is but a nature then we have 3 beings with similar nature or we have 3 Gods.

There are 7 billion human beings on earth all have same nature or essence .But do we say there is only 1 human on earth just because they have 1 nature ?

We have 2 hands,2 legs,2 eyes and 2 ears .The hands are of same nature both have same anatomical structure with same physiology and even are developed from the same gene .Do we say we have only 1 hand just because both have same nature ?.Likewise legs,eyes and ears.

If apply this logic to Hinduism then it is also wright .Hindus have many Gods all with same nature or essence but they still say there is only one God ,as God has only one nature!

Moreover the Jewish shema present in Deuteronomy 6:4 says God is one .This was reveled by God to Jews to differentiate Jewish God from other Gods which were many in number and it means one in number not nature.Jesus also certified the Shema.

The Jews always upheld this that their God is one in number and not nature.

David Waltz said...

Hi Drake,

Thanks much for responding to the new poster's comments (and label). I am in agreement with the following that you penned:

==I blush to even write the words of your label. It just comes off blasphemous, but your post here is what we call trolling. You obviously did not read what has already been said here and took the opportunity to hawk your arian heresy. PLease read what was already been said.==


Grace and peace,

David

David Waltz said...

>>Now coming on to your position "The term "deity" itself implies that the God of Christianity is not a person but a nature.">>

Me: The "one God" of the Bible, early Church Father's, and the Nicene Creed is the Father.

>>If God of Christianity is but a nature then we have 3 beings with similar nature or we have 3 Gods.>>

Me: One more time—the "one God" of the, early Church Father's, and the Nicene Creed, IS NOT "a nature", it is "a person", and that person is God the Father.

>>There are 7 billion human beings on earth all have same nature or essence .But do we say there is only 1 human on earth just because they have 1 nature ?>>

Me: I affirm what the Chalcedonian Definition so clearly defines concerning the distinctions of essence/nature:

== We, then following the holy Fathers, all with one consent, teach men to confess one and the same Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, the same perfect in Godhead (theotēti) and also perfect in manhood (anthrōpotēti) ; truly God and truly man, of a reasonable [rational] soul and body; consubstantial (homoousiov) with the Father according to the Godhead (theotēta), and consubstantial (homoousiov) with us according to the Manhood (anthrōpotēta)...==

As Drake has so often pointed out (both to Trinitarians and non-Trinitarians), a correct understanding of the important distinction between properties and attributes removes the logical contradictions inherent in the 'traditional' Latin/Western view of God.

There is but 'one God', the Father—God being understood here as the person termed "God the Father", for it is He, and He alone, Who is the source of all being (including the Son and the Holy Spirit).

If you wish to continue dialogue here, you should, at the very least, accurately present my position (which is also Drake's) on this important matter.

Ken said...

I agree that it is blasphemous for anyone to take the full name of our Lord and call himself that as his name on blogs, etc.

Some Latin American Roman Catholics may have the first name, "Jesus"/ Yesus in honor of Jesus, and some Muslims have the name "Isa" in honor of Him as a prophet, but none of them ever take "Jesus the Messiah" or "Jesus the Christ" as their name.

it is not honoring to Him to call yourself that in blogs.

Ken said...

David,
Your last post is making the issue clearer. Thanks.

But, in everyday speech, there seems to be little difference between a property and an attribute (except that I can see a "property" is used of inanimate objects); so an attribute or even "a quality" or "characteristic", is the right word for usage with persons, I think that is what you guys are saying - is your distinction (you and Drake) coming from official dictionary language definition or from some theological source and decision?

What is the definition of "God-head" ?
Godhead (theotēti)

Θεοτητι

(looks like the dative form of θεοτης )


the Godhead (theotēta)

θεοτητα

(looks like a neuter nominative form of θεοτης - is it ?)

These are different grammatical forms of the same word in Colossians 2:9, right? θεοτης (nominative, dictionary form) – in Colossians 2:9, the genitive form is used, της θεοτητος

One of my Greek Dictionaries, written by a Greek himself (Spiros Zodiates, The Complete Word Study Dictionary New Testament, 1992), defines the word in Colossians 2:9 as “God, Deity, Godhead as directly revealed, God’s personality, as distinguished from θειοτης in Romans 1:20 which means “divinity” or “God’s power and majesty” – which seems more impersonal.

"Deity", "Source of God", "nature of God", "fountain of God" ??

Not to be confused with a different word – an adjective, θειος - in 2 Peter 1:3-4 and Acts 17:29 – divinity, “an attribute of God such as His power and not His character in its essence and totality.”

Bauer, Arndt, Gingrich, and Danker – A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature (University of Chicago Press, second edition, 1979), does not seem to distinguish between θειοτης and θεοτης. On page p. 354 they list Romans 1:20 and Colossians 2:9 together as under θειοτης

Jnorm said...

Interesting convo, but you know me David, I feel un-easy around thegrandverbalizer19.

He's a Muslim that seems to only want to attack christianity every chance he gets.

I question his reasons for being here? Why is he interested in such stuff? What is he going to use it for?

He's from Turkey, right? Hmm......


Hey,

thegrandverbalizer19,

What are you going to use this stuff for? What are you planning?

David Waltz said...

Hi Jnorm,

Longtime no chat! So good to see you back...

If you get a chance, I would appreciate your input/thoughts on my "5 propositions".


You wrote:

==Interesting convo, but you know me David, I feel un-easy around thegrandverbalizer19.

He's a Muslim that seems to only want to attack christianity every chance he gets.

I question his reasons for being here? Why is he interested in such stuff? What is he going to use it for?

He's from Turkey, right? Hmm......==

He is an American (Midwest heritage if I remember correctly), who moved to Singapore (last I heard). And yes, he is an ardent apologist for Sunni Islam.


Grace and peace,

David