Homoousios or Homoiousios?

Discussion in 'Pneumatology' started by SynodOfDort, Oct 4, 2013.

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  1. SynodOfDort

    SynodOfDort Puritan Board Freshman

    I am wondering, to what point is the Holy Spirit of the same substance as the Father, and to what point is He of like substance to the Father? Frankly, the Trinity is fairly confusing to me, and I really need help washing out Charismaticism! (Up until about 2 yrs. ago, I saw God the Spirit as a non-personal spiritual force ebbing from the Father and the Son :rolleyes:)
  2. Ask Mr. Religion

    Ask Mr. Religion Flatly Unflappable

    That one iota is vitally important. With it, Arianism is the danger, hence homoousios "of the same substance" is the proper term. Three Persons, one essence is key to a proper grasp of the Trinity.

    Have you read the Athanasian Creed and the Nicene Creed?

    Then there is the section from the WCF:

    Chapter II - Of God, and of the Holy Trinity.

    I. There is but one only (Deut. 6:4; 1 Cor. 8:4,6), living, and true God (1 Thess. 1:9; Jer. 10:10), who is infinite in being and perfection (Job 11:7-9; 26:14), a most pure spirit (John 4:24) invisible (1 Tim. 1:17), without body, parts (Deut. 4:15,16; John 4:24 with Luke 24:39), or passions (Acts 14:11,15); immutable (James 1:17; Mal. 3:6), immense (1 Kings 8:27; Jer. 23:23,24), eternal (Psalm 90:2; 1 Tim. 1:17), incomprehensible (Psalm 145:3), almighty (Gen. 17:1; Rev. 4:8), most wise (Rom. 16:27), most holy (Is. 6:3; Rev. 4:8), most free (Psalm 115:3), most absolute (Ex. 3:14); working all things according to the counsel of his own immutable and most righteous will (Eph. 1:11), for his own glory (Prov. 16:4; Rom. 11:36); most loving (1 John 4:8,16), gracious, merciful, long-suffering, abundant in goodness and truth, forgiving iniquity, transgression, and sin (Ex. 34:6,7); the rewarder of them that diligently seek him (Heb. 11:6); and withal, most just, and terrible in his judgments (Neh. 9:32,33), hating all sin (Psalm 5:5,6), and who will by no means clear the guilty (Nah. 1:2,3; Ex. 34:7).

    II. God hath all life (John 5:26), glory (Acts 7:2), goodness (Psalm 119:68), blessedness (1 Tim. 6:15; Rom. 9:5), in and of himself; and is alone in and unto himself all-sufficient, not standing in need of any creatures which he hath made (Acts 17:24,25), nor deriving any glory from them (Job 22:2,3), but only manifesting his own glory in, by, unto, and upon them. He is the alone fountain of all being, of whom, through whom, and to whom are all things (Rom. 11:36); and hath most sovereign dominion over them, to do by them, for them, or upon them whatsoever himself pleaseth (Rev. 4:11; 1 Tim. 6:15; Dan. 4:25,35). In his sight all things are open and manifest (Heb. 4:13), his knowledge is infinite, infallible, and independent upon the creature (Rom. 11:33,34; Psalm 147:5), so as nothing is to him contingent, or uncertain (Acts 15:18; Ezek. 11:5). He is most holy in all his counsels, in all his works, and in all his commands (Psalm 145:17; Rom. 7:12). To him is due from angels and men, and every other creature, whatsoever worship, service, or obedience he is pleased to require of them (Rev. 5:12-14).

    III. In the unity of the Godhead there be three persons, of one substance, power, and eternity: God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost (1 John 5:7; Matthew 3:16,17; 28:19; 2 Cor. 13:14): the Father is of none, neither begotten, not proceeding; the Son is eternally begotten of the Father (John 1:14,18); the Holy Ghost eternally proceeding from the Father and the Son (John 15:26; Gal. 4:6).
  3. SynodOfDort

    SynodOfDort Puritan Board Freshman

    I just looked up both on CCEL... the Athanasian Creed was especially helpful! :)

    :confused: Would it be accurate to say that the Holy Spirit is sent out by the Son, as the Son is sent out by the Father? Or is God the Spirit eternally proceeding from both?
  4. fredtgreco

    fredtgreco Vanilla Westminsterian Staff Member

    The appropriate formulation is that the Son is eternally generated from the Father, and the Spirit eternally proceeds from the Father and the Son. That is the essence of the "filioque" (i.e. "and the Son" in Latin) controversy.
  5. SynodOfDort

    SynodOfDort Puritan Board Freshman

    Oh ok... :candle: I think that this is making a lot more sense now. I suppose it might be accurate to say that we can never fully understand the glory of the Trinity? Either that, or maybe a fifteen year old might take a while to grasp this!:tumbleweed:
  6. py3ak

    py3ak They're stalling and plotting against me Staff Member

    15 or 55, conceptualizing this is never easy! The Spirit proceeds from the Father and the Son - that is an internal relation between the persons of the Trinity. The Spirit is also sent by the Father and by the Son - that is an external mission. Just as the Son is eternally begotten by the Father before all worlds (internal relation) but is sent to take on human nature and be our substitute (external mission).
  7. SynodOfDort

    SynodOfDort Puritan Board Freshman

    Ok, this is making more sense now...
    The relation between the Trinity really is pretty cool :cool:
    Thanks! :D
  8. BayouHuguenot

    BayouHuguenot Puritan Board Doctor

    The older reformed systematics do a better job on this than the newer ones, though berkhof is good. Dabney is real good on this
  9. SynodOfDort

    SynodOfDort Puritan Board Freshman

    Dabney's content was really good!

    "Reason does pronounce God one. But here again, I repudiate weak supports. Argues Turrettin: If there are more than one, all equal, neither is God: if unequal, only the highest is God. This idea of exclusive supremacy is doubtless essential to religious trust; Has it, so far, been shown essential to the conception of a First Cause? Were there two or more independent eternal beings, neither of them would be an infallible object of trust. But has it been proved as yet, that we are entitled to expect such a one? Again, Dr. S. Clarke urges: The First Cause exists necessarily: but (a.) This necessity must operate forever, and everywhere alike, and, (b,) This absolute sameness must make oneness. Does not this savour of Spinozism? Search and see. As to the former proposition: all that we can infer from necessary existence is, that it cannot but be just what it is. What it is, whether singular, dual, plural; that is just the question. As to the 2d proposition, sameness of operation does not necessarily imply oneness of effect. Have two successive nails from the same machine, necessarily numerical identity? Others argue again: We must ascribe to God every conceivable perfection, because, if not, another more perfect might be conceived; and then he would be the God. I reply, yes, if he existed. It is no reasoning to make the capacity of our imaginations the test of the substantive existence of objective things. Again, it is argued more justly, that if we can show that the eternal self-existent Cause must be absolute and infinite in essence, then His exclusive unity follows, for that which is infinite is all-embracing as to that essence. Covering, so to speak, all that kind of being, it leaves no room for anything of its kind coordinate with itself. Just as after defining a universe, we cannot place any creature outside of it: so, if God is infinite, there can be but one."
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