Sunday, August 9, 2015

"The monarchy of the Father as the most fundamental issue of Trinitarian theology" - an insightful assessment of Thomas F. Torrance's and John Zizioulas' contributions on the Trinity


Dr. Thomas F. Torrance and Dr./Fr. John Zizioulas are two of the most important Trinitarian theologians of the late 20th and early 21st centuries (a period recognized by many as one which has seen a significant increase of interest in the doctrine of the Trinity). I have read a number of the works produced by both men; and came to realize, quite early, that though there are some common elements in their Trinitarian thought, there are also some very important differences.

A couple of days ago, I came across an excellent article/paper by Nikolaos Asproulis in the online journal, Participatio (link), which focuses on one of those differences—the monarchy of God the Father. The following is the abstract of Asproulis' contribution:

The disagreements between T. F. Torrance (1913-2007) and John Zizioulas (1931-) regarding the reading of the patristic (especially Cappadocian) doctrine of the monarchy of the Father bear implications for fundamental issues of theological method which require careful study. In the present article, questions regarding the transcendent and immanent Trinity, historical revelation as a starting point of Christian theology and the interpretation of the Cappadocian Fathers will be discussed in connection with a critical comparison of the way these two eminent theologians, who belong to different traditions (Torrance, Reformed; Zizioulas, Eastern Orthodox), interpret the monarchy of the Father as the most fundamental issue of Trinitarian theology. (Page 162.)

As noted in the above abstract, "the reading of the patristic (especially Cappadocian) doctrine of the monarchy of the Father bear implications for fundamental issues of theological method which require careful study" [I would certainly add Athanasius to the Cappadocians.] Asproulis goes on to demonstrate that Torrance's patristic interpretations bear some significant differences from those of Zizioulas, especially concerning the monarchy of God the Father. [Interestingly enough, Keith W. Goad's readings, as found in is doctoral dissertation, Trinitarian Grammars, are quite similar to those of Torrance—who he cites a number of times—for a link to the dissertation, and some of my musings, see THIS THREAD.]

Torrance places a heavy emphasis on the being/substance/essence (Gr. ousia) of God; and as Asproulis points out, he has a, "preoccupation with the term homoousian"(p. 164). But, Zizioulas' focus is quite different; note the following from Asproulis:

Since the beginning of his career Zizioulas has focused on the importance of the concept of personhood both as a conceptual tool for the conceptualization of the doctrine of the Trinity and as the very soteriological reality of Christian faith, the fulfillment of theosis. As he puts it, “the concept of person with its absolute and ontological content was born historically from the endeavor of the Church to give ontological expression to its faith in the Triune God.” (Page 166.)

A bit later in the article, we read:

Torrance is known for his robust critique of the “Cappadocian settlement,” which identified the monarchy exclusively with the person of the Father and introduces causal relations within the Holy Trinity: the Cappadocians “sought to preserve the oneness of God by insisting that God the Father, who is himself without generation or origination, is the one Principle or Origin and Cause of the Son and the Spirit.” (Page 172.)

This is followed by:

According to Torrance, the introduction of such a hierarchical and subordinationist structure, following from the priority of the person of the Father as the “cause” of the Godhead and the one principle of Trinitarian unity, constitutes the main thrust of the Cappadocian teaching. (Ibid.)

Torrance's rejection of the “Cappadocian settlement”—in contrast to Zizioulas' emphatic acceptance—establishes the wide difference between their respective understandings of the monarchy of God.

Personally, I side with Zizioulas on this "most fundamental issue of Trinitarian theology", and would be interested in hearing from others as to which side they take.


Grace and peace,

David

20 comments:

Ryan said...

I'm actually working on a list of ECF quotations showing how many explicitly said the Father caused the Son. I'm at nearly 60 pages right now and still have Irenaeus, Chysostom, Augustine, Cyprian, Origen, Tertullian, Theodoret, Jerome to go.

David Waltz said...

Hi Ryan,

So good to see you back at AF; thanks much for taking the time to comment.

I am very interested in your ECF project. Will you be posting it on your blog when finished ???

A couple of suggestions: first concerning Irenaeus; don't forget to read his Demonstration/Proof of the Apostolic Preaching (for links to sources for this document, and his other works, see THIS THREAD).

Second, don't overlook Eusebius of Caesarea's massive corpus (see THIS THREAD for links to his works). A lot of folk don't realize that he was much more than just a historian...


God bless,

David

Ryan said...

Yes, I'll be posting it. Not sure if it's better to do it all at once or in parts. Thanks for the tips, I found the following quotes for Eusebius already. The last one in particular is especially clear:

Oration in Praise of Constantine

11. And hence we are assured by the clear testimony of the sacred Herald, that the Word of God, who is before all things, must be the sole Preserver of all intelligent beings: while God, who is above all, and the Author of the generation of the Word, being himself the Cause of all things, is rightly called the Father of the Word, as of his only-begotten Son, himself acknowledging no superior Cause. God, therefore, himself is One, and from him proceeds the one only-begotten Word, the omnipresent Preserver of all things. And as the many-stringed lyre is composed of different chords, both sharp and flat, some slightly, others tensely strained, and others intermediate between the two extremes, yet all attuned according to the rules of harmonic art; even so this material world, compounded as it is of many elements, containing opposite and antagonist principles, as moisture and dryness, cold and heat, yet blended into one harmonious whole, may justly be termed a mighty instrument framed by the hand of God: an instrument on which the Divine Word, himself not composed of parts or opposing principles, but indivisible and uncompounded, performs with perfect skill, and produces a melody at once accordant with the will of his Father the Supreme Lord of all, and glorious to himself. Again, as there are manifold external and internal parts and members comprised in a single body, yet one invisible soul, one undivided and incorporeal mind pervades the whole; so is it in this creation, which, consisting of many parts, yet is but one: and so the One mighty, yea, Almighty Word of God, pervading all things, and diffusing himself with undeviating energy throughout this universe, is the Cause of all things that exist therein.

Church History, Book I

8. For if it is unreasonable to suppose that the unbegotten and immutable essence of the almighty God was changed into the form of man or that it deceived the eyes of the beholders with the appearance of some created thing, and if it is unreasonable to suppose, on the other hand, that the Scripture should falsely invent such things, when the God and Lord who judges all the earth and executes judgment is seen in the form of a man, who else can be called, if it be not lawful to call him the first cause of all things, than his only pre-existent Word? Concerning whom it is said in the Psalms, He sent his Word and healed them, and delivered them from their destructions.

Oration of Constantine

I have now declared the decree of God respecting the life which he prescribes to man, neither ignorantly, as many have done, nor resting on the ground of opinion or conjecture. But it may be that some will ask, Whence this title of Son? Whence this generation of which we speak, if God be indeed only One, and incapable of union with another? We are, however, to consider generation as of two kinds; one in the way of natural birth, which is known to all; the other, that which is the effect of an eternal cause, the mode of which is seen by the prescience of God, and by those among men whom he loves. For he who is wise will recognize the cause which regulates the harmony of creation. Since, then, nothing exists without a cause, of necessity the cause of existing substances preceded their existence. But since the world and all things that it contains exist, and are preserved, their preserver must have had a prior existence; so that Christ is the cause of preservation, and the preservation of things is an effect: even as the Father is the cause of the Son, and the Son the effect of that cause. Enough, then, has been said to prove his priority of existence.

Andrew Lloyd Davis said...

Hi David,

Thank you for sharing the fruit of so much research on your blog. I have read nearly all of your articles on the monarchy of the Father, and have found them very helpful and insightful. You have drawn my attention to many helpful selections from the fathers and your analysis seems very sound on the whole, in MHO.

I began diving into the ECF a few years ago and began studying the Trinity in earnest about a year ago in an attempt to understand the significance of Christ being God's "only-begotten" Son and eternal generation, which led to study of the Trinity in whole. It has been very encouraging to discover that there are other people alive today who hold the monarchy of the Father -prior to finding your blog, I knew of no one else who had arrived at this view independently of myself.

A question for you: at what point, or with what author, do you understand the split between the Latin/Western and Greek/Eastern traditions on the Trinity to have occurred, and particularly where do you believe that the change from applying the monarchy to the Father to applying it to the whole Trinity began?

Ryan,

I'm really looking forward to seeing this list! I'm presently compiling a list of quotes from the ANF and NF showing that they applied the term "one God" and similar terms specifically to the Father.

In Christ,

ALD

David Waltz said...

Hi Andrew.

Thanks much for taking the time to comment (and your kind words to yours truly). In your post, you wrote:

==It has been very encouraging to discover that there are other people alive today who hold the monarchy of the Father -prior to finding your blog, I knew of no one else who had arrived at this view independently of myself.==

I am going to assume that you are an American, and if so, then I am not surprised that you, "knew of no one else who had arrived at this view independently of [your]self"; and this, because so few American theologians are truly well read in Patristic contributions that came before Augustine, and/or the Eastern Orthodox theologians, concerning the doctrine of the Trinity.

==A question for you: at what point, or with what author, do you understand the split between the Latin/Western and Greek/Eastern traditions on the Trinity to have occurred, and particularly where do you believe that the change from applying the monarchy to the Father to applying it to the whole Trinity began?==

A very difficult/complex question, and this because I am not aware of any early Latin theologian who clearly stated that the term "monarchy" cannot/should not be applied to the Father alone. The term "monarchy" is rarely used by the Latin Church Fathers. For instance, I could not find the term even once in Augustine's On the Trinity (I am may have missed it, but I don't think so).

Now, with that said, I do think the Latin's—beginning in the late 4th century—began to place a heavy emphasis on the Trinity (and/or Divine essence) as the One God, which may have begun to undermine the monarchy of God the Father.

I also think Newman's comments concerning a change implemented by Augustine are important to keep in mind when exploring this issue. (SeeTHIS THREAD.)

Now, with that said, one should not forget that the doctrine of God the Father as the 'Fountain of divinity' and 'cause' of the Son and Sprit was retained within the Catholic tradition (though it certainly was not emphasized). However, beginning with John Calvin, a number of Protestant theologians began to deny this teaching, as well as the directly related teaching of 'eternal generation'. (See THIS THREAD for a number examples.)

Hope I have been of some assistance; please feel free to ask any further questions you may have...

Before ending, I have a couple of questions for you: first, do you have a blog and/or website; and second, are you planning to post your, "list of quotes from the ANF and NF showing that they applied the term 'one God' and similar terms specifically to the Father" ???


God bless,

David

Melanie said...

Hi David,

I found it interesting that Athanasius is considered a Cappodocian. I skimmed back over his creed and I think I see conflicting themes (if he in fact wrote it). It reads:

"The Father is made of none; neither created nor begotten. The Son is of the Father alone, not made or created but begotten."

But later it says: "And in this Trinity none is afore or after other: none is greater or less than another. But the whole three persons are co-eternal together and coequal."

I understand the concept of the eternal generation of the Word making the three persons co-eternal, but I wonder if the statement "none afore or after other" is a denial of a hierarchy within the relationship of Father to Son?

I've read that Athanasius did not actually write the Athanasian Creed but that it only reflects his Theology. In your opinion, would you consider this creed to be true to the original meaning of the Nicene Creed? Or is this an example of Augustinian influence?

As an aside, I know Keith Goad personally (He pastors in Charlotesville now) and once had a conversation with him about his dissertation. His claim was that East and West possessed the same view of the Trinity but with different emphases. I assume that he holds a minority opinion though.

Peace,

Sam Amos

David Waltz said...

Hi Sam,

Good to 'see' you again. In your last post, you wrote:

==I found it interesting that Athanasius is considered a Cappodocian.==

Ooops...it seems that when I wrote, "I would certainly add Athanasius to the Cappadocians", that the context could be misunderstood. Athanasius was not one of the three Cappadocians (Basil and the two Gregory's), what I intended to convey was that Athansius needed to be read with the Cappadocians.

==I skimmed back over his creed and I think I see conflicting themes (if he in fact wrote it). It reads:

"The Father is made of none; neither created nor begotten. The Son is of the Father alone, not made or created but begotten."

But later it says: "And in this Trinity none is afore or after other: none is greater or less than another. But the whole three persons are co-eternal together and coequal."==

First, pretty much all modern Patristic scholars are convinced that the creed was not written by Athanasius, and is a much later document (100-200 years later).

Second, as for the document itself, a good portion of its contents are directly borrowed from Augustine with little or no change.

Third, I agree with you that the creed has "conflicting themes".

==I understand the concept of the eternal generation of the Word making the three persons co-eternal, but I wonder if the statement "none afore or after other" is a denial of a hierarchy within the relationship of Father to Son?==

The doctrine of eternal generation includes the notion that the Father was never without His Son and Spirit; the language, "none afore or after other" attempts to convey this doctrine (though I would argue that it is an awkward/clumsy attempt).

==I've read that Athanasius did not actually write the Athanasian Creed but that it only reflects his Theology. In your opinion, would you consider this creed to be true to the original meaning of the Nicene Creed? Or is this an example of Augustinian influence?==

The latter for sure.

==As an aside, I know Keith Goad personally (He pastors in Charlotesville now) and once had a conversation with him about his dissertation. His claim was that East and West possessed the same view of the Trinity but with different emphases. I assume that he holds a minority opinion though.==

His view has become the majority opinion among modern Western/Latin theologians; but it is certainly still a minority opinion among Eastern/Greek theologians.

(Question: do you think Keith would be open to conversing with me?)


Grace and peace,

David

Melanie said...

Hi David,

Thanks for your response. Yes, Kieth is a very nice man and I feel that he wouldn't mind discussing this with you. He pastors Jefferson Park Baptist Church in Charlottesville VA. He may or may not recognize my name. I attended there briefly; though my sister-in-law attends there regularly, and I had a conversation with him concerning his dissertation at a church event about a year ago. If you google the name of the church, his contact info should be on the site.

Peace,

Sam Amos

Andrew L. Davis said...

David,

Thank you for your response. I don't recall reading the first thread you linked to, and that certainly helped clarify things a bit. And yes, I'm American.

You posted:

==Before ending, I have a couple of questions for you: first, do you have a blog and/or website; and second, are you planning to post your, "list of quotes from the ANF and NF showing that they applied the term 'one God' and similar terms specifically to the Father" ???==

Me: Yes, I just began a blog: http://truthforeveryseason.blogspot.com/. And once finished with the list (which is already quite long and I'm still only in the second century Fathers) I do plan to post it. I'm hoping to do a series of posts on 'Nicene Orthodoxy' explaining the original meaning of the Creed and defending that understanding of the Trinity as having been the historic view of the church up to that point, as well as the clear teaching of scripture.

I wanted to ask if you would be alright with me creating a post on my blog recommending your post on Eternal Generation to my readers? I apologize if asking is unusual, I'm entirely new to blogging and have no knowledge of normative etiquette in regards to sharing other's posts etc.

One more question for you (for now) -what is meant by monoousias that's different from homoousias? I believe I understand homoousias, its just what is different about monoousias I'm unclear on. It almost seems like it could be a mere semantical difference -but clearly you make a distinction. Why is that?

Thanks,

Andrew Davis

Rory said...

Someone asks (Andrew/Ryan?)..."at what point, or with what author, do you understand the split between the Latin/Western and Greek/Eastern traditions on the Trinity to have occurred, and particularly where do you believe that the change from applying the monarchy to the Father to applying it to the whole Trinity began?"

I have to reply with a question: Do you hold that Catholics apply "monarchy" to the entire Trinity?

The Father is and always has been referred to as the "First Person" of the Trinity in the Latin West. The reason, according to one catechism is that He proceeds from none, and "is the Principle, of the other two Persons."

The West has not ordinarily used the expression "monarchy", in relation to the Father alone, nor in its understanding of the Trinity as a whole. But if asked whether I agree with the doctrine of the Monarchy of the Father, as a Latin, I do not deny. Indeed I must affirm it, even if it is an expression that is somewhat foreign to us. I think it would be a serious mistake to assume that the West would condemn this doctrine.

I am relatively ignorant of Patristics, but I see nothing in the liturgy of the Catholic Church that is incompatible with the Monarchy of God the Father as presented here at Articuli Fidei. On the contrary, I find that such an understanding brings enrichment to one who would ponder the prayers of the Holy Mass and to whom they are addressed and why at different points.

If Western theology has been reticent out of a zeal to defend the unity of the Trinity, to more fully expound the Principle, and First Person of the Trinity, the Catholic liturgy assumes it to be so. As we pray, so we believe.

David Waltz said...

Good morning Andrew,

Yesterday, you posted:

==I wanted to ask if you would be alright with me creating a post on my blog recommending your post on Eternal Generation to my readers? I apologize if asking is unusual, I'm entirely new to blogging and have no knowledge of normative etiquette in regards to sharing other's posts etc.==

I have been a blogger for 8 years now, seeing and experiencing many different 'styles' when it comes to individual bloggers. Personally, when I quote from another blog (and/or website) I try to provide the appropriate name and link. As for my own posts, please feel free you utilize any of them.

==One more question for you (for now) -what is meant by monoousias that's different from homoousias? I believe I understand homoousias, its just what is different about monoousias I'm unclear on. It almost seems like it could be a mere semantical difference -but clearly you make a distinction. Why is that?==

Strictly speaking, homo = same and mono = one. I first came across the contrast between homoousios and monoousios in Charles Hodge's Systematic Theology; in volume 1, p. 463, Hodge quoted the following from Philip Schaff's History of the Christian Church (iii., p. 672):

>>The term homoousion, in its strict grammatical sense, differs from monoousion...and signifies not numerical identity, but equality of essence or community of nature among several beings. It is clearly used thus in the Chalcedonian symbol, where it is said that Christ is “consubstantial (homoousios) with the Father as touching the Godhead, and consubstantial with us [and yet individually distinct from us] as touching the manhood.” The Nicene Creed does not expressly assert the singleness or numerical unity of the divine essence...and the main point with the Nicene fathers was to urge against Arianism the strict divinity and essential equality of the Son and the Holy Ghost with the Father.>>

Hodge immediately followed the above with:

>>Gieseler goes much further, and denies that the Nicene fathers held numerical identity of essence in the persons of the Trinity. The Father, Son and Spirit were the same in substance as having the same nature, or same kind of substance. This he infers was their doctrine not only from the general style of their teaching, and from special declarations, but from the illustrations which they habitually employed. The Father and the Son are the same in substance as among men father and son have the same nature; or as Basil says, Father and Son differ in rank, as do the angels, although they are the same in nature. Gieseler says that the numerical sameness of nature in the three divine persons, was first asserted by Augustine. It was he, according to Gieseler, who first excluded all idea of subordination in the Trinity.>>

The Lord willing, I will type of a new post documenting other scholars who agree with Gieseler's take on this issue...


Grace and peace,

David


P.S. I have added your blog to my 'Blogger Reading list'.

Andrew L. Davis said...

David,

Thank you for your response, and for allowing me to link to your posts. I've already shared the link to your post on Eternal Generation.

So since 'monoousion' speaks of numerical identity of nature/essence, then it seems like there are times when it could mean the same things as 'homoouson', since we wouldn't say that a nature (Godhood, manhood, etc) has any actual existence outside of the persons who are of that given nature.

So would you say that 'monousion' could be used in virtually the same way as 'homoousion' to describe generic unity?

A analogy with which we might be able to picture substance/nature would be with color. (Let us suppose for sake of analogy that there aren't shades of red, there's just one unvarying color red.) If I have three distinct items that are all this color red, it seems that on the one hand, I could say they are all of the 'same color', but on the other, and meaning the same thing, I could say they are all 'one color' (ei, their color is the same single color known as red, which the three all share in common- although there are three objects, there's only one color they all have in common). So in a case like that, if I'm understanding correctly, we would say the three items share a generic unity, and yet we would still not have a problem saying they're all "one color" since there is only one color all three items have in common which constitues the same generic unity we woud speak of by saying they are the 'same color', right?

If that's correct, then why make a distinction between using homoousios and monoousios in regards to the Trinity when, despite their etymological differences, they would seem to speak of the same reality (ei, a single generic divinity/Godhood that exists in all three persons)?

Since we would understand the 'ousia' to speak of a certain divinity/Godhood which is a property of the persons of God, His Son, and His Spirit which they all have in common (homoousia), then it seems we speak of one property (hence 'monoousia'). In no way would this contradict the numerical distinction between the persons. What do you think? Am I missing something?

In Christ,

Andrew

David Waltz said...

Hello again Andrew,

Congrats on your new blog; looking forward to more posts from your 'pen'.

Yesterday, you wrote:

==So since 'monoousion' speaks of numerical identity of nature/essence, then it seems like there are times when it could mean the same things as 'homoouson', since we wouldn't say that a nature (Godhood, manhood, etc) has any actual existence outside of the persons who are of that given nature.==

Agreed.

==So would you say that 'monousion' could be used in virtually the same way as 'homoousion' to describe generic unity?==

Though homoousios can be understood (and has been, especially so by Sabellians/modalists) as identical to monoousios—one essence/substance in an absolute sense—monoousios has never (to my knowledge) been used in a generic sense.

Athanasius, knowing that many in his day understood homoousios in the Sabellian/modalistic sense, made a clear distinction between the two terms; note the following:

"For we do not maintain a Son/Father as do the Sabellians, calling him monoousion but not homoousion." (Expositio Fidei/Statement of Faith, 2 - translation mine.)

Dr. Philip Schaff's comments concerning the use of homoousios in the Nicene period were noted in my previous comment; but, interestingly enough, a few pages later, when commenting on the Chalcedonian period, he virtually ignores his own words and argues that when homoousios is used with reference to God the Father it, "implies numerical unity or identity of substance (God being one in essence, monoousios); Christ's homoousia with men means only generic unity or equality of nature." (History of the Church, 3.745.)

==A analogy with which we might be able to picture substance/nature would be with color. (Let us suppose for sake of analogy that there aren't shades of red, there's just one unvarying color red.) If I have three distinct items that are all this color red, it seems that on the one hand, I could say they are all of the 'same color', but on the other, and meaning the same thing, I could say they are all 'one color' (ei, their color is the same single color known as red, which the three all share in common- although there are three objects, there's only one color they all have in common). So in a case like that, if I'm understanding correctly, we would say the three items share a generic unity, and yet we would still not have a problem saying they're all "one color" since there is only one color all three items have in common which constitues the same generic unity we woud speak of by saying they are the 'same color', right?==

Yes.

==If that's correct, then why make a distinction between using homoousios and monoousios in regards to the Trinity when, despite their etymological differences, they would seem to speak of the same reality (ei, a single generic divinity/Godhood that exists in all three persons)?==

I think a distinction was made (and should continue to be made), because of the Sabellian/modalistic use/abuse of the word homoousios .

==Since we would understand the 'ousia' to speak of a certain divinity/Godhood which is a property of the persons of God, His Son, and His Spirit which they all have in common (homoousia), then it seems we speak of one property (hence 'monoousia'). In no way would this contradict the numerical distinction between the persons. What do you think? Am I missing something?==

My take is that in the Nicene through Chalcedonian periods, monoousios was understood only in a Sabellian/modalistic sense, and though homoousios was used by Sabellians/modalists as a synonym of monoousios, the orthodox Fathers wanted to make sure that they were not understood as doing the same, especially so in their confrontations with Arianism.

Sincerely hope that my comments have added some clarity...


Grace and peace,

David

Ryan said...

I believe monoousion would mean the Trinity are not only of one mind and will but actually collectively possess one mind and will. This would explain the Sabellian implication. The Trinity inseparably agree in all things, but they do so distinctly.

Andrew L. Davis said...

David,

Thank you, that does help clarify things for me a bit. I see why monoousios would be problematic due to the Sabellian connotation if for no other reason.

Ryan,

You said:

==I believe monoousion would mean the Trinity are not only of one mind and will but actually collectively possess one mind and will. This would explain the Sabellian implication.==

Me: Interesting. That would make sense.

==The Trinity inseparably agree in all things, but they do so distinctly.==

Me: Agreed.

BTW, I find your compilation of quotes from the fathers on God being autotheos very interesting and helpful. Thank you for sharing that.


In Christ,

Andrew

Steve said...

Hi David,
I would be interesting in hearing if you agree with Rory's earlier comment.
Thanks,
Steve

Rory said...

Steve, hey.

I am thinking Dave is out of town at the moment.

I wondered if anyone had noticed my post! Thanks.

As I said, Catholics don't ordinarily use the expression, monarchy of God the Father. But the concept is clear.

We recite "the Gloria" at virtually every Mass except in seasons of penance. Guess which of the Three Persons of the Blessed Trinity is referred to as Lord God, Heavenly KING. Not the Second Person who sits at the King's right hand. With regards to the Third Person, the Holy Ghost, it is taught that He is "most high", along with the Second Person with this qualification: "in the glory of God the Father".

I have expressed to our blog host how much I have been blessed liturgically as I have come to appreciate his emphasis on the "Monarchy of God the Father" by the prayers of the Mass. What the Fathers of the Church apparently taught explicitly is in my opinion, inescapable for Latin Rite Catholics who adhere to the Traditional Mass, as I do, no matter what Councils and Catholic theologians say to the contrary.

I am very skeptical as to whether Councils and theologians disagree. But it has been asserted that Rome (the West) has applied the monarchy of God to the entire Trinity, and so I await the evidence. Until I see it, and even if I do see it, I believe the Mass more than Councils and theologians anyway.

Lex Orandi, Lex Credendi.

David Waltz said...

Hi Andrew,

Sorry about my somewhat tardy response, but I have been (as Rory suggested) 'out of town' (on an 8 day Alaskan cruise).

On 09-01-15 you posted:

==I would be interesting in hearing if you agree with Rory's earlier comment.==

Yes, I do. I would only add that there began an emphasis, with Augustine, within the Latin/Western tradition of applying the term "the one God" to the whole Trinity, rather than reserving it to God the Father, as evidenced in the majority of theologians in the Greek/Eastern tradition.

Concerning the use of the term "monarchy" within the Latin/Western and Greek/Eastern traditions, I have found the following to be quite useful:

>>There is, however, a difference in how the Catholic (Latin) and Orthodox (Greek) traditions speak about the Father. It concerns the "monarchy of the Father." For the Orthodox doctrine, the "monarchy" signifies that the Father is the sole Source, the sole "Cause" or the sole "principle" in the Trinity, in a way that denies that the Son could be, with the Father, the principle of the Holy Spirit.">> (Gilles emery, The Trinity, p. 121.)

A bit later we read:

>>But, the two traditions, Orthodox and Catholic, fundamentally meet in the recognition of the Father as unbegotten Source, principle without principle, principle of the Son and principle of the Holy Spirit.>> (Ibid., pp. 121, 122.)

And then, importantly, there is the following affirmation:

>>The Father's mode of action is that of the "principle without principle" or Source of the whole Trinity.>> (Ibid., p. 122 - bold emphasis mine.)

[For more information on the above book, see THIS THEAD.]


Grace and peace,

David

David Waltz said...

Hi Rory,

Thanks much for taking the time to respond to Andrew during my absence. In your last post, you wrote:

==I am very skeptical as to whether Councils and theologians disagree. But it has been asserted that Rome (the West) has applied the monarchy of God to the entire Trinity, and so I await the evidence. Until I see it, and even if I do see it, I believe the Mass more than Councils and theologians anyway.==

I don't recall posting that, "Rome (the West) has applied the monarchy of God to the entire Trinity" (though I am getting old, and may have). With that said, I don't think that most Latin/Western theologians would oppose such an application if one identifies 'monarchy' with 'principle'.

Grace and peace,

David

Rory said...

I did not think you asserted the comment. But Andrew Lloyd Davis apparently mistook you to be asserting it here, on August 12, saying to you:

"A question for you: at what point, or with what author, do you understand the split between the Latin/Western and Greek/Eastern traditions on the Trinity to have occurred, and particularly where do you believe that the change from applying the monarchy to the Father to applying it to the whole Trinity began?"

Oh. Welcome back! I am a little dismayed to see how many times you must have walked (or ran?) around the boat. Back to work tomorrow. Heh.

Rory