This thesis is only valid if you are suggesting that the West is asserting that Jesus Christ was divine because of the procession of the Holy Spirit. It seems to me that the West was using this as support and not the determining factor of divinity. I hope that came out right.
In point of fact this is *precisely* what the filioque
was meant to assert: Jesus' divinity is predicated on the fact that he causes the Holy Spirit to proceed in the same way that the Father causes the Holy Spirit to proceed.
In any case "supporting" vs. "determining" is merely semantics. More on that as I respond to the below.
As you mentioned the cause was to further build support for the divinity of Christ against the Arian heresy. The divinity was already universal so no addition to the Creed could be a determining factor to something that was already determined before the addition. It can be used as suuport but not the sole basis and proof.
If the belief in the divinity was, as you claim, universal, then there would have been no need for the filioque
to be inserted into the Creed. There would have been no need for "mere" "support" since it was already universally accepted. But clearly it was *not* universally accepted otherwise it would not have been felt to have been necessary to insert it into the Creed itself
. After all, Gregory Nazianzen and Basil the Great (among others, such as Ambrose of Milan) had already written on the Holy Spirit, the Son and the Trinity. Another theological treatise or consistent preaching would have been just fine--if it was in fact universally accepted. But, in fact, by inserting it into the Creed, proponents of the filioque
were doing a sort of end run on the Arians. Arians were already utilizing Scripture to disprove the divinity of the Son, so proponents of the filioque
determined that if we insert this into the Creed, then the Arians will have no response since the Creed is to be affirmed at all Eucharists by all Christians.
Aside from Tradition, Scripturally speaking it was by Christ's own words that we know He sent the Holy Spirit. However we also know, by the baptism of Christ, that the Holy Spirit comes forth from the Father as well. It is also by Scripture that we know that the Holy Spirit is God Himself procceeding from Himself.
First of all, procession is not the same thing as sending. Nowhere in all of Scripture is it said the the Holy Spirit processes from the Son. Only the Father. Yes, Jesus sends the Holy Spirit, but this is not the same activity (it's easier to see in the Greek, but even so, the English does not translate it the same way) as the Father causing the Holy Spirit to proceed. Notice the verse:
John 15:26--But when the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father
, the Spirit of truth, who proceeds from the Father
, he will bear witness about me.
The Greek is the same for both emphasized phrases: para tou patros
. Jesus does send (pempo
) the Spirit, but even when he does, this Spirit is para tou patros
. And of course the Spirit proceeds para tou patros
. There is no kai para tou huiou
. Yes, it is an argument from silence, but it may hold some persuasive value: if the apostle John had wanted to indicate that the Spirit proceeds from the Father and the Son
he would have written it that way. He did not.
Brother, I really don't see the filioque as the determining act and verification of Christ's divinty. The West didn't say, "Jesus Christ is Divine and 2nd Persona of God because the Holy Spirit procceeds from Him just as it does the Father." at least that is not how I took it. I saw it more as, "Jesus Christ is Divine and the 2nd Persona of God, as further validation of this Truth we know that just as the Father sends out the Holy Spirit so does the Son."
Then there was no need for the filioque
to be inserted into the Creed.
If God said He would send His Spirit and The Father, The Son and The Holy Spirit are God then how is the filioque inappropriate?
Because while we cannot lose the identity of essence/nature between the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, neither can we lose the distinction of Persons. The filioque
at minimum erases a Personal distinction between Father and Son on one side and the Holy Spirit on the other. So either Father and Son are the same in a way the Holy Spirit is not--thus demoting the Holy Spirit from equality with the Father and the Son--or the distinction between Father and Son in their Persons is erased, which leads to a collapse from Christian Trinitarianism into modalist Sabellianism.
It doesn't demote the Holy Spirit for the Father to say that He is sending Him. So how does it demote the Holy Spirit and promte the Son to suggest that they both do so in the same breath?
Because it either erases the distinction between Father and Son (Sabellianism) or it predicates of the Father and the Son an essential
quality of nature that the Holy Spirit does not share. And if it is essential
, i.e., of the very essence of divinity, then it means that the Holy Spirit fails to share in some essential
aspect of divinity that the Father and Son share in. That demotes the Holy Spirit to a different/lesser state of being than Father and Son.
I completely agree. Although I believe the succession of Peter holds primacy as universal overseer, the prohibition on altering the Creed was universally established and set in stone. Although the insertion does not contradict anything its insertion was not valid on its own.
In fact the filioque does
contradict Christian Trinitarian teaching as well as the clause in the Creed that the Holy Spirit is "with the Father and the Son both worshipped and glorified." This could only be the case if the Holy Spirit is divine in the same way that the Father and the Son are both divine. But if the Father and the Son share an essential characteristic of the divine nature that the Holy Spirit does not (procession of the Holy Spirit), then, in fact, the filioque
contradicts the Creed's teaching about the divinity of the Holy Spirit.