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My understanding of the "monarchy of the Father" is that God the Father is the source of divinity within the trinity. In other words, God the Father is the cause of the trinity. The son receives his divinity from the father.

I was looking online and I've become confused on an explanation of the Filioque. The Orthodox object to Filioque because they believe that it compromises the Father's monarchy and that it creates two sources of divinity. Dr. Matthew Levering in one of his books (https://books.google.com/books?id=0BdGDAAAQBAJ&pg=PT176&dq=filioque+objection+monarchy+of+the+father&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwi-5Zvs2o3bAhVMQq0KHdhFDa0Q6AEINzAD#v=onepage&q=filioque%20objection%20monarchy%20of%20the%20father&f=false) quotes another author in his notes and says the following:


Quote:Evdokimov comments that "Augustine emphasizes that it is principally from the Father, as the premier and absolute principle, that the Holy Spirit proceeds. But since the Father and Son are one, and all that the Father has, the son also has, they constitute a single principle of the procession of the procession of the Holy Spirit. The principle of the Monarchy is not thereby suppressed; there are not two principles, two sources of the Holy Spirit. The Monarchy, one can say, is shared between the Father and the Son united in the same nature in order to form only a single principle of procession..."


This seems like a contradiction to me. While every person in the Trinity is united by essence, they are still three distinct persons, correct? If that is the case, wouldn't saying that the Father and Son sharing the monarchy is like saying the Father and Son are pretty much the same person? It seems almost like a form of modalism, where I guess God is the Father one minute and then he becomes the Son the next minute. How can "monarchy" in this particular case be shared if only the Father is supposed to be the cause of divinity in the Godhead? Wouldn't "sharing" a monarchy still create two sources of divinity because they are still two separate persons?

This is all very confusing to me. If anyone can explain in simply terms, I'd appreciate it. On the one hand, this explanation of the Filioque would seem to make sense, but the questions I gave above leave me confused? I have no education or training in philosophy or theology, so this is way out of my league, but I'd appreciate an explanation.
There is a serious issue here which begins not as much over theology, but over terminology.

Firstly, to say that the Father is the "cause" of the Son, Holy Ghost or the Trinity is dangerous, if not heretical.

That's part of the problem with language, however, and it gets especially dicey around mysteries.

What is meant by "cause"? If we mean in a very limited sense "a principle from which a thing flows", then this is a safe statement. Generally, however, cause means efficient cause, not just a principle. The efficient cause is that which brings a thing out of potency to to be actual. That is impossible within the Trinity, since it presumes God is not pure act. If we accept that there is causality in this sense, then we logically end in Arianism. 

The Catholic notion is that while God the Father is not cause, he is the principle from which the Son proceeds. That procession is generation-filiation. It is the opposed relations which make the persons distinct.

The problem with the Holy Ghost is that if He is God, since relation is the only possible way to distinguish the persons, there must be a unique way how He proceeds, otherwise there relation is the same, and there would be no distinction between the Son and Holy Ghost. If both processions are a generation-filiation, then there are simply two sons, and no Holy Ghost, but then the Sons would not be in any way distinct, meaning we could only have two persons.

The Procession of the Holy Ghost (often called Spiration) is not an opposition of relation to Paternity, or Filiation.

Thus the third Person must proceed in a different way, and this procession must distinguish the Third Person in some way from both the First and Second. The only way of relating to both is if the procession involves both. The Catholic theology therefore says that the Holy Ghost proceeds from God the Father and God the Son together as a single principle. This procession brings about a different relation between all three Persons.

Thus :

Paternity is opposed to Filiation
Spiration is neither opposed to Paternity, nor Filiation.
Spiration is opposed to Procession.

or

Father --> Son  (Generation)
Son --> Father (Filiation)
Father & Son --> Holy Ghost (Spiration)
Holy Ghost --> Father & Son (Procession)

The "Monarchy" of the Father is, like every other analogy we give, precisely that, an analogy. As the axiom has it "Omnis comparatio claudicat nisi in punctum comparationis." (Every comparison limp, save in the point of comparison).

That "monarchy" as to be understood to be limited to the point of comparison for which the analogy was intended. Like the "Lion of Judah" we are saying that Our Lord is royal, ferocious and awe-inspiring. We're not saying he had a blond mane, nor that he has a tail, large teeth, etc.

Similarly when we speak of the "Monarchy of the Father" we are referring to him as the Principle of Principles, First Cause, and Creator. We cannot over-extend the analogy to the point where we put it at war with other revealed truth (such as the equality of Persons in the Trinity).

Further, we cannot really speak of a "source" of divinity other than the Divine Nature itself. Each of the Persons shares this Nature equally and completely. None "receive" it. If we assert they did, we would fall into the Adoptionist heresy.
(05-17-2018, 10:35 PM)MagisterMusicae Wrote: [ -> ]There is a serious issue here which begins not as much over theology, but over terminology.

Firstly, to say that the Father is the "cause" of the Son, Holy Ghost or the Trinity is dangerous, if not heretical.

That's part of the problem with language, however, and it gets especially dicey around mysteries.

What is meant by "cause"? If we mean in a very limited sense "a principle from which a thing flows", then this is a safe statement. Generally, however, cause means efficient cause, not just a principle. The efficient cause is that which brings a thing out of potency to to be actual. That is impossible within the Trinity, since it presumes God is not pure act. If we accept that there is causality in this sense, then we logically end in Arianism. 

The Catholic notion is that while God the Father is not cause, he is the principle from which the Son proceeds. That procession is generation-filiation. It is the opposed relations which make the persons distinct.

The problem with the Holy Ghost is that if He is God, since relation is the only possible way to distinguish the persons, there must be a unique way how He proceeds, otherwise there relation is the same, and there would be no distinction between the Son and Holy Ghost. If both processions are a generation-filiation, then there are simply two sons, and no Holy Ghost, but then the Sons would not be in any way distinct, meaning we could only have two persons.

The Procession of the Holy Ghost (often called Spiration) is not an opposition of relation to Paternity, or Filiation.

Thus the third Person must proceed in a different way, and this procession must distinguish the Third Person in some way from both the First and Second. The only way of relating to both is if the procession involves both. The Catholic theology therefore says that the Holy Ghost proceeds from God the Father and God the Son together as a single principle. This procession brings about a different relation between all three Persons.

Thus :

Paternity is opposed to Filiation
Spiration is neither opposed to Paternity, nor Filiation.
Spiration is opposed to Procession.

or

Father --> Son  (Generation)
Son --> Father (Filiation)
Father & Son --> Holy Ghost (Spiration)
Holy Ghost --> Father & Son (Procession)

The "Monarchy" of the Father is, like every other analogy we give, precisely that, an analogy. As the axiom has it "Omnis comparatio claudicat nisi in punctum comparationis." (Every comparison limp, save in the point of comparison).

That "monarchy" as to be understood to be limited to the point of comparison for which the analogy was intended. Like the "Lion of Judah" we are saying that Our Lord is royal, ferocious and awe-inspiring. We're not saying he had a blond mane, nor that he has a tail, large teeth, etc.

Similarly when we speak of the "Monarchy of the Father" we are referring to him as the Principle of Principles, First Cause, and Creator. We cannot over-extend the analogy to the point where we put it at war with other revealed truth (such as the equality of Persons in the Trinity).

Further, we cannot really speak of a "source" of divinity other than the Divine Nature itself. Each of the Persons shares this Nature equally and completely. None "receive" it. If we assert they did, we would fall into the Adoptionist heresy.

Sorry but I'm still very confused. When you say that the Holy Ghost/Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father and Son as a single principle, it still makes me think that basically the Holy Spirit is proceeding from one person with two different identities. What does "principle" mean in this particular context? Can you give an analogy or example of a "single principle" procession through two persons?

Forgive my ignorance. A lot of this is difficult for me to understand. Do you know of any sources that gives a simple explanation of the filioque?
I think have a little understanding of St. Thomas' argument now. Correct me if I'm wrong. The Father has paternity, the Son has filiation, and the Holy Spirit has spiration. Now to distinguish how the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father, St. Thomas says that the Holy Spirit proceeds from both the Father and Son as "one principle." If the Holy Spirit proceeded from just the Father, that would be like falling into "semi-Sabellianism" where the Holy Spirit would not be distinguished from the Son. In other words, it would be like a form of modalism where the Son and Holy Spirit are like two identities of one person. They wouldn't be distinguished because they are both proceeding from the Father alone.

But that still leaves me confused. Here is another quote from Dr. Matthew Levering in one of his book (https://books.google.com/books?id=XK4T0FYMR4UC&pg=PA190&dq=father+son+spirate+one+principle+father-son+hybrid&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjCm7CE_4_bAhViwlQKHWo1ATMQ6AEIKTAA#v=onepage&q=father%20son%20spirate%20one%20principle%20father-son%20hybrid&f=false):


Quote:As Theodore Stylianopoulos writes, the difficulty for the eastern orthodox is that "the filioque as a doctrinal formula and as articulated by Augustine and all his later interpreters posits that not only the father but also the son is a source or origin or cause of the spirit." From the orthodox perspective, understanding the Son in this way leads to "compromising the principle of the 'monarchy' of the Father and confusing the Hypostatic properties of the Father and the Son, as if one could have a hybrid Father-Son person or hypostasis."

And then this from an Orthodox author (https://books.google.com/books?id=AkRhkwChdZsC&pg=PA145&dq=orthodoxy+father+son+spirate+one+principle&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwi-uOeUgZDbAhUM3GMKHRSpD5MQ6AEIKTAA#v=onepage&q=orthodoxy%20father%20son%20spirate%20one%20principle&f=false):

Quote:The filioque thus shifts the principle of unity away from the hypostasis of the father and toward nature; it lessens the monarchy of the father and destroys the Trinitarian balance, the perfect equality of the three persons. It actually splits the threefold monad into two dyads, 'Father-Son' and 'Father-Spirit,' and diminishes the spirit to the advantage of the son. If the spirit proceeds from the Father-Son, considered as a single principle, those two persons are transformed into one impersonal deity, the original substance. The reduction of the persons to oppositional relationships makes the son appear as the deitas, but without the faculty of engendering (which only the Father possesses), and the Spirit to appear as what is left of the Deitas, but deprived also of the power of spiration (which only the Father-Son together possesses).

So that I guess this what is really concerning me. How does the Father and Son spirating the Holy Spirit as a "single principle" not essentially turn them into one single person with two identities or "modes?" And how does the Father and Son acting as one principle not violate the Father's monarchy, who is said to be the "fount of divinity?"

This website describes the monarchy of the Father (http://www.orthodoxresearchinstitute.org...source.htm):


Quote:The monarchia of the Father means that the Father is the sole cause/origin both of the Son and of the Spirit
I'm just quoting this for my sake so I don't lose track (http://readingthesumma.blogspot.com/2011...pirit.html)


Quote:Aquinas claims that the double procession is necessary in order to be able to distinguish the Persons of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. He argues that we cannot distinguish between the Son and the Spirit by looking to anything to do with the divine essence, as this is common to the Persons; in other words, anything absolute (i.e. non-relational) simply will not help us. Therefore only the relations distinguish the Persons.

The relations can only distinguish between the Persons inasmuch as they are “opposed” relations. To illustrate this notion we observe that the relations between the Father and the Son are opposed, therefore the Father is not the Son; likewise we note that there are two relations in the Father (to the Son and to the Holy Spirit) but these relations are not opposed, so they do not “divide” the Father into two Persons. The trouble is that if the only relations in the Son and the Holy Spirit were those by which they are related to the Father, they would not distinguish the Son and the Holy Spirit as they are not opposed relations. This would imply that the Son and the Spirit are the same one Person, which would make a bit of a wreck of Trinitarian faith. Therefore there must be an opposed relation between the Son and the Spirit, and since the only opposed relations in God are relations of origin (Question 28 Article 4), it follows that either the Son is from the Holy Spirit or the Holy Spirit is from the Son. The latter is the only possibility consistent with scripture and tradition.
Good luck with this Echo. Its a VERY difficult . I have studied it for years and i am still not convinced of the Filioque,but i guess i don't fully understand the scholastic arguments in favor of it,although I've tried. 

For me it was simple,if it was not part of the Nicene Constantanipolitan Creed it's a later edition and not necessary,period. Besides,Eastern Catholics do not have to pray the Creed with it. I know i do not. I am not comfortable with it. Another reason i was skeptical was Cardinal Newman, out of all his various ways of attempting to explain his "development of doctrine" and for all his towering intellect he couldn't really find any slam dunk argument for the filioque other  than, "well the Church teaches it so it must have been implicitly believed everywhere." If that were the case it would have clearly been in the creed universally from the start and it was not. At least that's how i see this.

Of course this stuff has been argued for and against for millennia so there are no easy pat answers. You just have to read,pray,reflect and try to understand. Its a very dense topic to say the least.
Sometimes the audio is bad, but watch this:

(05-18-2018, 09:31 PM)formerbuddhist Wrote: [ -> ]Good luck with this Echo. Its a VERY difficult . I have studied it for years and i am still not convinced of the Filioque,but i guess i don't fully understand the scholastic arguments in favor of it,although I've tried. 

For me it was simple,if it was not part of the Nicene Constantanipolitan Creed it's a later edition and not necessary,period. Besides,Eastern Catholics do not have to pray the Creed with it. I know i do not. I am not comfortable with it. Another reason i was skeptical was Cardinal Newman, out of all his various ways of attempting to explain his "development of doctrine" and for all his towering intellect he couldn't really find any slam dunk argument for the filioque other  than, "well the Church teaches it so it must have been implicitly believed everywhere." If that were the case it would have clearly been in the creed universally from the start and it was not. At least that's how i see this.

Of course this stuff has been argued for and against for millennia so there are no easy pat answers. You just have to read,pray,reflect and try to understand. Its a very dense topic to say the least.

I tried to think of an analogy to help me understand it better. Imagine this: A father writes a letter. The father is busy, so he then tells his youngest son to go outside and tell his older brother to get in his car and deliver it at the Post Office.

Think of the letter as spiration/procession. The letter (spiration) was a product of the father. He then gives the son the letter (sharing his spiration) and the spiration finally goes to the mailman (Holy Spirit). So the brother (Holy Spirit) proceeds due to the actions of the Father and the Son. The intent to deliver the letter was still that of the Father, but he communicates his intention to his youngest son, and through that communication the older brother proceeds to the Post Office.
Now I noticed a potential flaw in my analogy. It would seem to imply the Father is incapable of communicating his intention to his oldest son. I guess that is another problem with the filioque. It seems to imply that the Father can't spirate the Holy Spirit without the Son.

So here are some questions that I need cleared up.

1. If the Father and Son are "one principle," wouldn't that make the Holy Spirit a principle by himself? If so, wouldn't that essentially create a form of ditheism?

2. Aren't all three persons of the Trinity "one principle" because they are united by one Divine Essence or Divine Nature?

3. Doesn't "one principle" essentially morph the Father and Son into one person?

4. How is "through the son" (per filium) the same as "from the son" (filioque")

5. It is said that the Son has everything the Father has except his monarchy or the Father being the "fount of divinity." By making the Father and Son one principle, wouldn't that imply the Son also shares in being the "fount of divinity."

When I think of the Father as being the "ultimate source" and the "fount of divinity," it makes me think that at first God was just one person (the Father) and then he split himself into two other persons, which of course implies that the Son and Spirit are created beings (Arianism).

I just don't understand. The filioque seems to click well with some people, while for others like it brings great difficulty in understanding it. I was thinking about all of this while I was at work. There was another question that I wanted to ask but it has escaped me.

Now monopatrism also seems to have some difficulties. It would seem to imply both the Son and the Holy Spirit rely on him for their divinity. Remember, apparently the Father is the "sole cause/origin" of the Son and the Spirit. How does one reconcile this when I thought each person of the Trinity is supposed to be equal and always eternal?
Here is the dogmatic sense of the Trinity from the Council of Florence, Bull of Union with the Copts:

"First, then, the holy Roman church, founded on the words of our Lord and Saviour, firmly believes, professes and preaches one true God, almighty, immutable and eternal, Father, Son and holy Spirit; one in essence, three in persons; unbegotten Father, Son begotten from the Father, holy Spirit proceeding from the Father and the Son; the Father is not the Son or the holy Spirit, the Son is not the Father or the holy Spirit, the holy Spirit is not the Father or the Son; the Father is only the Father, the Son is only the Son, the holy Spirit is only the holy Spirit. The Father alone from his substance begot the Son; the Son alone is begotten of the Father alone; the holy Spirit alone proceeds at once from the Father and the Son. These three persons are one God not three gods, because there is one substance of the three, one essence, one nature, one Godhead, one immensity, one eternity, and everything is one where the difference of a relation does not prevent this. Because of this unity the Father is whole in the Son, whole in the holy Spirit; the Son is whole in the Father, whole in the holy Spirit; the holy Spirit is whole in the Father, whole in the Son. No one of them precedes another in eternity or excels in greatness or surpasses in power. The existence of the Son from the Father is certainly eternal and without beginning, and the procession of the holy Spirit from the Father and the Son is eternal and without beginning. Whatever the Father is or has, he has not from another but from himself and is principle without principle. Whatever the Son is or has, he has from the Father and is principle from principle. Whatever the holy Spirit is or has, he has from the Father together with the Son. But the Father and the Son are not two principles of the holy Spirit, but one principle, just as the Father and the Son and the holy Spirit are not three principles of creation but one principle. Therefore it condemns, reproves, anathematizes and declares to be outside the body of Christ, which is the church, whoever holds opposing or contrary views. Hence it condemns Sabellius, who confused the persons and altogether removed their real distinction. It condemns the Arians, the Eunomians and the Macedonians who say that only the Father is true God and place the Son and the holy Spirit in the order of creatures. It also condemns any others who make degrees or inequalities in the Trinity."

Here also is the dogmatic sense regarding the Trinity from the Council of Florence, Bull of Union with the Armenians:

"...we offer to the envoys that compendious rule of the faith composed by most blessed Athanasius, which is as follows:

"Whoever wills to be saved, before all things it is necessary that he holds the catholic faith. Unless a person keeps this faith whole and undefiled, without doubt he shall perish eternally. The catholic faith is this, that we worship one God in the Trinity, and the Trinity in unity, neither confounding the persons nor dividing the substance. For there is one person of the Father, another of the Son, and another of the holy Spirit. But the Godhead of the Father, of the Son and of the holy Spirit is one, the glory equal, and the majesty co-eternal. Such as the Father is, such is the Son, and such is the holy Spirit. The Father uncreated the Son uncreated and the holy Spirit uncreated. The Father infinite, the Son infinite and the holy Spirit infinite. The Father eternal, the Son eternal and the holy Spirit eternal. Yet they are not three eternals, but one eternal. As also they are not three uncreateds nor three infinites, but one uncreated and one infinite. Likewise the Father is almighty, the Son is almighty and the holy Spirit is almighty. Yet they are not three almighties, but one almighty. Likewise the Father is God, the Son is God and the holy Spirit is God. Yet they are not three gods, but one God. Likewise the Father is Lord, the Son is Lord and the holy Spirit is Lord. Yet they are not three lords, but one Lord. For just as we are compelled by the Christian truth to acknowledge each person by himself to be God and Lord, so we are forbidden by the catholic religion to say there are three gods or three lords. The Father is made by none, neither created nor begotten. The Son is from the Father alone; not made nor created, but begotten. The holy Spirit is from the Father and the Son; not made nor created nor begotten, but proceeding. So there is one Father, not three fathers; one Son, not three sons; one holy Spirit, not three holy spirits. And in this Trinity nothing is before or after, nothing is greater or less; but the whole three persons are co-eternal together and co-equal. So that in all things, as has been said above, the unity in Trinity and the Trinity in unity is to be worshipped. Whoever, therefore, wishes to be saved, let him think thus of the Trinity.

"It is also necessary for salvation to believe faithfully the incarnation of our lord Jesus Christ. The right faith, therefore, is that we believe and confess that our lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, is God and man. God, of the substance of the Father, begotten before the ages; and man, of the substance of his mother, born in the world. Perfect God, perfect man, subsisting of a rational soul and human flesh. Equal to the Father according to his Godhead, less than the Father according to his humanity. Although he is God and man, he is not two, but one Christ. One, however, not by conversion of the Godhead into flesh, but by the taking of humanity into God. One altogether, not by confusion of substance, but by unity of person. For as a reasoning soul and flesh is one man, so God and man is one Christ. He suffered for our salvation and descended into hell. On the third day he rose from the dead. He ascended into heaven and sits at the right hand of God the Father almighty. Thence he shall come to judge the living and the dead. At his coming all shall rise again with their bodies, and shall give an account of their own deeds. Those who have done good shall go into eternal life, but those who have done evil shall go into eternal fire.

"This is the catholic faith. Unless a person believes it faithfully and firmly, he cannot be saved."

And finally, this also from the Council of Florence, Definition of the holy ecumenical synod of Florence:

"For when Latins and Greeks came together in this holy synod, they all strove that, among other things, the article about the procession of the holy Spirit should be discussed with the utmost care and assiduous investigation. Texts were produced from divine scriptures and many authorities of eastern and western holy doctors, some saying the holy Spirit proceeds from the Father and the Son, others saying the procession is from the Father through the Son. All were aiming at the same meaning in different words. The Greeks asserted that when they claim that the holy Spirit proceeds from the Father, they do not intend to exclude the Son; but because it seemed to them that the Latins assert that the holy Spirit proceeds from the Father and the Son as from two principles and two spirations, they refrained from saying that the holy Spirit proceeds from the Father and the Son. The Latins asserted that they say the holy Spirit proceeds from the Father and the Son not with the intention of excluding the Father from being the source and principle of all deity, that is of the Son and of the holy Spirit, nor to imply that the Son does not receive from the Father, because the holy Spirit proceeds from the Son, nor that they posit two principles or two spirations; but they assert that there is only one principle and a single spiration of the holy Spirit, as they have asserted hitherto. Since, then, one and the same meaning resulted from all this, they unanimously agreed and consented to the following holy and God-pleasing union, in the same sense and with one mind.

"In the name of the holy Trinity, Father, Son and holy Spirit, we define, with the approval of this holy universal council of Florence, that the following truth of faith shall be believed and accepted by all Christians and thus shall all profess it: that the holy Spirit is eternally from the Father and the Son, and has his essence and his subsistent being from the Father together with the Son, and proceeds from both eternally as from one principle and a single spiration. We declare that when holy doctors and fathers say that the holy Spirit proceeds from the Father through the Son, this bears the sense that thereby also the Son should be signified, according to the Greeks indeed as cause, and according to the Latins as principle of the subsistence of the holy Spirit, just like the Father.

"And since the Father gave to his only-begotten Son in begetting him everything the Father has, except to be the Father, so the Son has eternally from the Father, by whom he was eternally begotten, this also, namely that the holy Spirit proceeds from the Son.

"We define also that the explanation of those words “and from the Son” was licitly and reasonably added to the creed for the sake of declaring the truth and from imminent need."
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