Author Topic: Filioque  (Read 13491 times)

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Angelos

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Re: Filioque
« Reply #35 on: Thu Feb 25, 2010 - 20:18:58 »
Dear Rob,

"I, for one, would love to see the Orthodox give a little and the Catholics give a little, and let us come back together as the one true Church."

Amen, manna to you

Offline Rob, PGK

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Re: Filioque
« Reply #36 on: Thu Feb 25, 2010 - 21:27:42 »
BTW-

I would like to add that Pope Leo was wrong in the way he acted  leading up to the schism. I think that had he just chilled a little, and given the debate more time, that an acceptable solution would have come about for both sides of the issue. However, the schism was a long time in coming, and had more to do with power, politics, and cultural differences between the East and the West that it did with theology.

Anyhoo, could you imagine the amount of good we, as a Church, could do in the world if we would put aside our differences and reunite as one Church.

Offline trifecta

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Re: Filioque
« Reply #37 on: Sun Mar 21, 2010 - 12:09:22 »
Greetings, Rob.  If I haven't said it before, thank you for your contributions to the forum. 

OK guys. I think there have been great points on either side of this debate. I do, however, fall on the Catholic side of the argument.

That is probably because you are Catholic.  IMHO, it's really hard to come down on the Catholic side here, especially since 1) the orginal creed didn't have the filioque  2) it was added for - as you say - a political reason   3)  the RCC was willing - later in history - to establish their own churches in the east with the filioque removed.   

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I must say though, if there is an argument to be made about the "one true Church", there can only be 3 choices; Catholic, Orthodox, or Coptic. The answer is that at one time, we all were, we just let politics come between us. Everyone else is a Johnny come lately.


Agreed.

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Here is my problem with the whole thing. The entire schism was political. End of story. There were problems long before the schism and I think that the Filioque was just the reason given for the split, not the real reason. The real reason was power and politics.


There are some problems with what you say here.  Firstly, eastern theology is more mystical than Western theology.   Politics had its role, but the origins are probably not political.  The West was more into Augustine and Tertullian and the east more into Gregory, Basil, and later John Chrystostom. 

Then again, the west did make political moves to unite the empire.  This eventually failed and Byzantium lasted longer than Rome.   (Then, there is the Frankish invasion thing.) The west hoped by uniting under the Bishop of Rome the empire would be preserved.

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Look, we are sitting here in a message board debating an idea that we can't even comprehend, let alone actually form a valid opinion about based on fact. The entire thing is a matter of faith.

I'm not sure to what you are referring here, but if it is the Filioque, no, our argument is clearly better.  I don't want to sound arrogant here, but your statement above sounds like that we can't really know the right answer.  The Nicene Creed was made to bring clarity to these issues.  But, yes, the Trinity is not something we can understand.  We need the creed and theology to show what is NOT true about God.  God is beyond our thinking process, as I am sure you will agree.

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The Eastern Churches had deferred to Rome for 1000 years before the split, so the Primacy of Rome is not an issue, it's whether or not to accept it. The Orthodox chose not to accept it any more.

This is not really true.  Take the Easter controversy in the early church.  Rome wanted to impose its date for Easter for the whole church.  The Syriac (?) church followed the tradition of Polycarp (I think) and celebrated it on a different date.   Rome asked them to change to date. They didn't , until many years later.

 As early as the 2nd century, St. Cyprian said that is no bishop of bishops. The east accepted the Bishop of Rome having the primacy of honor.  A kind of leader of equals (as the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court is the leader of the Supreme Court).  Rome later emphasized the "leader" in leader of equals and at time tried to impose its will.  The east agreed only when they agreed with the Pope.    

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The Pope has no more power than any other Bishop, except that he can call a council and be the deciding vote in a matter.
And he now appoints all the cardinals and, I think, bishops.  You don't really think the Pope is the equal of other bishops, do you? 

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It's not like he speaks ex cathedra out of his butt, he puts a lot of time, investigation, and vigorous debate with other bishops into it.

True, but he is not obligated to do this.  The part that scares me is if a nutjob gets in.  The Pope in church matters is the closest thing we have to an ecclesiastical  king in modern times

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I, for one, would love to see the Orthodox give a little and the Catholics give a little, and let us come back together as the one true Church. I would imagine that there would be great rejoicing in Heaven on that day.

I pray for that day.  In reality, however, it is up to one person--the Bishop of Rome.  With one sentence, he can renounce universal authority and the Catholics and Orthodox Churches would within a generation re-unite.    So, in a sense, you are right Rob.  The reason for the separation is political.  You apply politics to the historical church but don't today.

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Personally, I think that Catholic or Orthodox, if you are doing what you are supposed to, you are on the right track.

Yes, I would add many Protestants as well, but, on the other hand, what do I know?  We are not the ones that judge.

Offline winsome

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Re: Filioque
« Reply #38 on: Fri Mar 26, 2010 - 08:46:04 »
Here is my problem with the whole thing. The entire schism was political. End of story. There were problems long before the schism and I think that the Filioque was just the reason given for the split, not the real reason. The real reason was power and politics.

There are some problems with what you say here.  Firstly, eastern theology is more mystical than Western theology.   Politics had its role, but the origins are probably not political.  The West was more into Augustine and Tertullian and the east more into Gregory, Basil, and later John Chrystostom. 

I think the schism was one of the great tragedies for the Catholic Church, not just because it split the Church, or because we lost a lot of people, but we lost, to a great extent, that reservoir of theology and mysticism, and also the power balance between the Eastern Patriarchs and Rome.

Offline Macrina

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Re: Filioque
« Reply #39 on: Fri Apr 23, 2010 - 13:58:23 »
But if it's a quality the Holy Spirit doesn't have, but the Father and the Son do, then how do we distinguish between Father and Son?

We can distinguish between Father and Son because the Father and Son have other qualities of their personhood that distinguish them (namely begetting and being begotten).  I can’t see that them both processing the Holy Spirit together necessarily makes them some sort of Biunity.

But remember the principle: what is shared must be common to the essence, what is distinct is proper to the Persons.  So if there is a quality that is shared, then it is an essential quality and common to all Persons.  If we then say that causing to proceed is common to the Father and the Son, then it must also be common to the Spirit.  If it is not common to the Spirit, then either the Spirit is not part of the Godhead, since it does not share in the common quality of causing to proceed; or, if it is common to both Father and Son, and yet not part of the essence of the Godhead, then the distinction between Father and Son begins to collapse because we have a common quality that is not essential.  Thus, we have a Biunity--Father/Son and Holy Spirit, or the Holy Spirit is not God.

Take this analogy (and it may not be a good one but it’s the only one I can think of at the moment), my wife and I have a daughter, Helen. We are both individually a parent to her, and she is a child to us individually. The being a parent is not part of my essence as it is a quality of my relationship with Helen and therefore of my personhood. And similarly with my wife. Us both being parents to Helen does not make us some sort of hybrid person. We are still distinct persons.

I recognize that metaphors have limited argumentative force, but let us take your analogy seriously enough to analyze it more carefully.

If you claim that "parenthood" is personal and not essential, and if it is a quality both you and your wife share, then we collapse the distinction between mother and father, making either interchangeable, and potentially one unnecessary (you can guess which our society says is unnecessary).

I think a way to take your analogy such that it maps on to an Orthodox viewpoint is to understand parenthood as an essential quality common to human nature.  That is to say all humans have the potential to be parents; it's hardwired into us.  And most humans do become parents in actuality.  But parenthood is common to all humans.  What is distinct to the persons who are parents is being a mother or a father.  A father cannot be a mother, a mother cannot be a father, and both are necessary to children.  A man exercises his parenthood (his essential quality he shares with his wife) as a father (his distinct quality differentiating himself from his wife); and vice versa.

Another way to take parenthood as an essential quality is to locate it not in human nature per se (though I think that's where it belongs) but to locate it in the marital union.  That is to say, what is essential to the marital union is parenthood, but each person of the marital union exercises that essence in distinctly personal ways, one as father one as mother.  This way of viewing it is as legitimate it seems to me as the other way I mention above.  And maybe the full view is a combination of these both.


So too if the Father and the Son do something jointly I don’t see that necessarily it stops them being distinct in their persons.

It's not the sharing of a quality per se that loses them the distinction, but their sharing a quality between themselves that the Holy Spirit doesn't also share.  What is common to more than one Person is essence and therefore common to all; what is not common to all must distinct to one and only one Person.

CDHealy and winsome, I believe you are both on the right track.  ::smile::

St John of Damascus used Genesis to relate the concept.
"Seth was begotten from Adam and Eve. This threefold relationship illustrates, to a certain extent, the Holy Trinity. Adam had no human father. He was begotten by no one. Thus, he was unbegotten. Seth was begotten from Adam. Eve was neither unbegotten nor begotten. Instead she proceeded from Adam (Gen. 2:21)

Therefore, Eve and Seth were related to the unbegotten Adam, but each in a unique manner-Eve proceeded from Adam but Seth was begotten from him. Each person had his or her own distinct and unique properties-unbegotten, begotten, and proceeding-but all three possessed the same human nature.

Similarly, the manner in which these three existed images the Holy Trinity. God the Father is Unbegotten, God the Son is Begotten from the Father; and God the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father.  These distinct and unique properties distinguish each of the individual Persons of the Holy Trinity from each other; yet, They are one in nature."
 +St John of Damascus


My two cents on the "filoque" is, it was and is a matter of dialectics. The filoque only became a matter of controversy because it relates to dogma. Historically it came about when Greek was translated into Latin.
As St Basil the Great said in his work "On the Holy Spirit", "one word, such as a preposition can have great ramifications to the understanding of the faithful". History shows he was correct. The barbarian Franks (of whom I am a descendent) as they were being Christianized misunderstood the meaning and began to apply human logic to the matter. Both the eastern (Constantinople) and western (Rome) churches never corrected the problem, or were unable to.

The Franks, during Charlemagne's rule were insulted by both sides (east refusing unity with the western half-barbarians, the empress refusing her previous agreement to marriage, and west seeking the glory of an emperor for themselves to emulate Constantinople, Charlemagne never saw the Roman church with any power to do such), as they saw the churches using them (the Franks) for their own means.

Offline winsome

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Re: Filioque
« Reply #40 on: Fri Apr 23, 2010 - 14:07:52 »
CDHealy and winsome, I believe you are both on the right track.  ::smile::

St John of Damascus used Genesis to relate the concept.
"Seth was begotten from Adam and Eve. This threefold relationship illustrates, to a certain extent, the Holy Trinity. Adam had no human father. He was begotten by no one. Thus, he was unbegotten. Seth was begotten from Adam. Eve was neither unbegotten nor begotten. Instead she proceeded from Adam (Gen. 2:21)

Therefore, Eve and Seth were related to the unbegotten Adam, but each in a unique manner-Eve proceeded from Adam but Seth was begotten from him. Each person had his or her own distinct and unique properties-unbegotten, begotten, and proceeding-but all three possessed the same human nature.

Similarly, the manner in which these three existed images the Holy Trinity. God the Father is Unbegotten, God the Son is Begotten from the Father; and God the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father.  These distinct and unique properties distinguish each of the individual Persons of the Holy Trinity from each other; yet, They are one in nature."
 +St John of Damascus


An interesting analogy, though it falles down in that Seth is also begotten from Eve. But you did say "to a certain extent". I'll file that away for future use.  ::smile::

Thanks

Added:
Just had a thought. If I were to suggest that Eve was begotten by Adam, then Seth proceeded from both Adam and Eve. Rather like the Catholic position.  ::pondering::
« Last Edit: Fri Apr 23, 2010 - 14:16:08 by winsome »

Offline Macrina

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Re: Filioque
« Reply #41 on: Fri Apr 23, 2010 - 14:46:12 »

An interesting analogy, though it falles down in that Seth is also begotten from Eve. But you did say "to a certain extent". I'll file that away for future use.  ::smile::

The "certain extent" is in that this analogy is relating from Adam (Adam being an analogy of God the Father), not Eve.

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Added:
Just had a thought. If I were to suggest that Eve was begotten by Adam, then Seth proceeded from both Adam and Eve. Rather like the Catholic position.  ::pondering::

Ah, double procession. St Gregory of Nyssa clearly admits a "mediating" role of the Son in the procession of the Spirit from the Father. Should this role be expressed with the help of the preposition "through" the Son. St Maximus as well as other patristics seem to suggest this.

Offline CDHealy

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Re: Filioque
« Reply #42 on: Sat Apr 24, 2010 - 13:31:54 »
An interesting analogy, though it falles down in that Seth is also begotten from Eve. But you did say "to a certain extent". I'll file that away for future use.  ::smile::

Actually, it doesn't fall down.  "Begotten/beget/begat" are the words used in Scripture exclusively of fathers--"brought forth/bear/give birth" is the verbiage for mothers, not "begotten/beget/begat". (Cf. for example Jeremiah 16:3).

Similarly, the words "beget/begotten/begat" is used only of the Father for the Son, never of the Father for the Spirit.

Offline Macrina

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Re: Filioque
« Reply #43 on: Thu May 06, 2010 - 08:58:55 »
Are we allowed to talk about this subject on this board considering that it uses the filoque? ::doh::

Offline Wycliffes_Shillelagh

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Re: Filioque
« Reply #44 on: Tue May 11, 2010 - 03:35:46 »
Are we allowed to talk about this subject on this board considering that it uses the filoque? ::doh::
As long as you do it respectfully and don't let it turn into a shouting match, you'll get by.

I was allowed to have a thread questioning whether the Holy Spirit meets the criteria to be a "person," so a no-filioque position isn't all that radical.

Offline AvrilNYC

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Re: Filioque
« Reply #45 on: Sun May 16, 2010 - 13:29:29 »
Dear all,

The Nicene Creed states about Jesus "Light from Light, true God from true God, " Jesus is Light, all Light is source of Light, all Light proceeds from Light, even if it is not the original source of light. Think about the "anastasi". The priest has the original source of Light and gives it to the faithful next to him, who then proceeds to pass it on to the next and so on. Light proceeds from light. Jesus is Light and true God. So although the father is the Original Source, Jesus is a secondary source. You can't have it both ways, if you accept that Jesus is true God and Light, He is also the (secondary) source, otherwise nothing proceeds from Jesus (even His teachings and miracles have the Father as the original source) and we fall into Arianism.

When Jesus says in John16:15 Everything that the Father has is mine" He is not lying. When He says in John 16:8 If I go I will send him (the Holy Spirit) to you" He is not lying.

the Catechism of the Catholic Church acknowledges that the Father is the first origin, but also affirms that the Father gave to the Son everything that belongs to Him, to protect us from Arian tendencies:
"since the Father has through generation given to the only-begotten Son everything that belongs to the Father, except being Father, the Son has also eternally from the Father, from whom he is eternally born, that the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Son...for the eternal order of the divine persons in their consubstantial communion implies that the Father, as "the principle without principle",is the first origin of the Spirit, but also that as Father of the only Son, he is, with the Son, the single principle from which the Holy Spirit proceeds.

I think the only legitimate dogmatic objection to the filioque is if someone (IMHO wrongly)  interprets "proceeds from" to mean "originally proceeds from", otherwise I would like to ask my Orthodox brothers, does anything at all proceed from Jesus? If yes, what? and if nothing proceeds from Jesus aren't we back to the Eastern Churches' heretic tendencies with Arianism?

Offline Macrina

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Re: Filioque
« Reply #46 on: Tue May 18, 2010 - 16:22:47 »
This Orthodox doesn't believe that anything "proceeds" from the Son. And yes, the Father is the cause, in a manner of speaking. The Son is "begotten", He doesn't "proceed" as the Spirit does from the Father.

What I put forth is that by using the word through after the "and" in the filoque would describe (by prepositional phrase) a mediating role of the Son. I could see where patristics could support such.

Offline CDHealy

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Re: Filioque
« Reply #47 on: Wed May 19, 2010 - 11:35:26 »
The Nicene Creed states about Jesus "Light from Light, true God from true God, " Jesus is Light, all Light is source of Light, all Light proceeds from Light, even if it is not the original source of light. Think about the "anastasi". The priest has the original source of Light and gives it to the faithful next to him, who then proceeds to pass it on to the next and so on. Light proceeds from light. Jesus is Light and true God. So although the father is the Original Source, Jesus is a secondary source. You can't have it both ways, if you accept that Jesus is true God and Light, He is also the (secondary) source, otherwise nothing proceeds from Jesus (even His teachings and miracles have the Father as the original source) and we fall into Arianism.

When Jesus says in John16:15 Everything that the Father has is mine" He is not lying. When He says in John 16:8 If I go I will send him (the Holy Spirit) to you" He is not lying.

the Catechism of the Catholic Church acknowledges that the Father is the first origin, but also affirms that the Father gave to the Son everything that belongs to Him, to protect us from Arian tendencies:
"since the Father has through generation given to the only-begotten Son everything that belongs to the Father, except being Father, the Son has also eternally from the Father, from whom he is eternally born, that the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Son...for the eternal order of the divine persons in their consubstantial communion implies that the Father, as "the principle without principle",is the first origin of the Spirit, but also that as Father of the only Son, he is, with the Son, the single principle from which the Holy Spirit proceeds.

You illustrate here perfectly the problem with the filioque: it ultimately becomes modalism, in which there is no distinction between the Persons of the Holy Trinity, that is to say there is only God's essence, and the Persons become little more than "masks" designating a nominal distinction.

I know that you are not yourself espousing this ultimate conclusion, but this is where it leads.  Confusing God's essence or nature, and the Persons of the Trinity ultimately leads to modalism.  As was noted in the posts above, the patristic teaching on the Trinity is that what is not common to the essence must be characteristic of the Person, and what is characteristic of the Person must be kept distinct from the nature.  That is to say, it was not the Father who was crucified and resurrected, though the Person of the Trinity who *was* crucified and resurrected is God.

Therefore, if one must insist that Jesus must process the Spirit because the Father processes the Spirit--and if Jesus doesn't he somehow lacks Godhood--then who/what must the Spirit process so that he too is God?

Yes, you can quote Scriptues about sending and the Spirit being the Spirit of Jesus, and so on.  But again, if you insist that this *must* entail the fiioque then you end up on modalism.  It is inescapable.

Rather if you read those Scriptures within the proper patristic framework--since all Scriptures must be interpreted, you have to choose what framework you use to interpret it, and the Orthodox consciously and conscientiously choose the patristic one--then you see that you cannot use those Scriptures to insist on double procession.  Because the Scriptures cannot teach modalism, because we then cannot be saved.

I think the only legitimate dogmatic objection to the filioque is if someone (IMHO wrongly)  interprets "proceeds from" to mean "originally proceeds from", otherwise I would like to ask my Orthodox brothers, does anything at all proceed from Jesus? If yes, what? and if nothing proceeds from Jesus aren't we back to the Eastern Churches' heretic tendencies with Arianism?

This is, perhaps unintended, little more than polemical mudslinging.  In point of fact, the "Eastern Churches" were the ones who ultimately *defeated* Arianism.  And if you want to discuss "heretic [sic] tendencies" perhaps we can discuss Pelagianism?

Relative to you overall question: whatever is unique to Jesus as the Son of God--crucifixion, resurrection, *being* eternally begotten--is that which distingquishes him *as* the Son of God.  Double procession is not necessary to Jesus' Godhood, else it would also be necessary to the Spirit's Godhood, but I don't see any espousal of what/who the Spirit *must* process (triple procession) to be God.

Offline Wycliffes_Shillelagh

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Re: Filioque
« Reply #48 on: Wed May 19, 2010 - 15:25:44 »
Can anyone define the word translated "proceeds?"

Thanks.

Offline CDHealy

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Re: Filioque
« Reply #49 on: Wed May 19, 2010 - 16:49:47 »
It is usually described (definition is not the appropriate nomenclature) as the eternal spiration of the Holy Spirit from God the Father.  This eternal spiration is distinguished from the eternal generation of the Son.

Of course all of these words are the best attempts we have--based on centuries of fighting off heresies so as to preserve the Gospel--to describe what is ultimately a Mystery to our reason.  That said, the distinctions are important, again so as to preserve the Gospel.  So this is not simply a matter of, well it's only human terminology, so limited, so we can ignore it or use other words to describe it, or . . .

These descriptions have been, as I indicated, "battle tested" in the arena of fighting off heresies.  They have stood the test of time.  Yes, it is possible to say the same thing in a different way--so long as we actually are saying the same thing.  This is why we have to carefully weigh new terminology--test the spirits--so as to ensure we are transmitting the original Gospel without change or subtraction.

Offline trifecta

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Re: Filioque
« Reply #50 on: Thu May 20, 2010 - 20:04:06 »
Okay, I admit it, I had to look up the word spiration (the act of breathing--as in respiration), but CD's point is valid.   Language can be important.  For example, it is important to your faith that Jesus was born of a virgin, not a young woman?  Probably.

 The whole filioque controversy shows the superiority of  the Orthodox Church.  We have our dear RCC friends trying to rewrite history saying that the filioque should have been in the Nicene Creed, and ignoring the fact that the filioque clause was added to combat a local heresy and was opposed by even some Popes.  The same people who kicked out the Orthodox over this issue now allow it in the east--but not the west. Not to mention Jesus himself says
"But when the Helper comes, whom I shall send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, He will testify of Me.  (John 15:26, emphasis mine).

Then we have our Protestant friends who buy into the filioque because it has nice things to say about Jesus, which is not an argument but a cultish aberration.  More commonly, however, Protestants haven't really thought about this issue, because they don't find it relevant today.

Then we have the Orthodox who simply follow the thread of church history and assume that the Holy Spirit is guiding his church to truth, since Jesus promised he would.

« Last Edit: Thu May 20, 2010 - 20:23:54 by trifecta »

Offline Macrina

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Re: Filioque
« Reply #51 on: Fri May 21, 2010 - 12:36:55 »
Quote
Language can be important.

Indeed.  ::smile::

St Basil in writing "On the Holy Spirit" was particularly attentive to even the smallest words and their usage. ie. and, with, in

Offline Wycliffes_Shillelagh

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Re: Filioque
« Reply #52 on: Fri May 21, 2010 - 12:55:32 »
It is usually described (definition is not the appropriate nomenclature) as the eternal spiration of the Holy Spirit from God the Father.  This eternal spiration is distinguished from the eternal generation of the Son.

Of course all of these words are the best attempts we have--based on centuries of fighting off heresies so as to preserve the Gospel--to describe what is ultimately a Mystery to our reason.  That said, the distinctions are important, again so as to preserve the Gospel.  So this is not simply a matter of, well it's only human terminology, so limited, so we can ignore it or use other words to describe it, or . . .

These descriptions have been, as I indicated, "battle tested" in the arena of fighting off heresies.  They have stood the test of time.  Yes, it is possible to say the same thing in a different way--so long as we actually are saying the same thing.  This is why we have to carefully weigh new terminology--test the spirits--so as to ensure we are transmitting the original Gospel without change or subtraction.
Thank you CD.  That was very informative. 

Do you know what the actual Greek word is, though?  Anyone?  (Finding the Greek is easy for the Bible.  For the creeds, not as much.)

Offline CDHealy

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Re: Filioque
« Reply #53 on: Sat May 22, 2010 - 17:49:20 »
The Greek for procession is ekporeuomenein and for spiration is probolein.

 

     
anything