Thursday, September 25, 2008

John 15:26 and Filioque

MYTH
John 15:26 expressly precludes Filioque and Filioquists make Christ, Who is truth itself, a teller of half-truths

Jn 15:26 does not at all rule out Filioque but in fact implies it. This is evident from the rule of the Bible that whatever is predicated of the Father is predicated of the Son despite the addition of an exclusive term, except for things pertaining to the opposite relations which distinguish the Father from the Son. In proof of which is the statement of God the Son Himself [Mt 11:27], that "No one knows the Son, but the Father,"{2} because this infallible and inerrant statement does not rule out the Son knowing Himself or the Holy Spirit knowing the Son.

The Fathers Know Best
I must provide two brilliant quotations from Bishop St. Augustine the Great of Hippo (Doctor Gratiae) which resolve any remaining doubts. In 416 St. Augustine the Great said [Homilies on John 99:6,8]:
Some one may here inquire whether the Holy Spirit proceeds also from the Son. For the Son is Son of the Father alone, and the Father is Father of the Son alone; but the Holy Spirit is not the Spirit of one of Them, but of both... If, then, the Holy Spirit proceeds both from the Father and from the Son, why said the Son, "He proceeds from the Father"? Why, do you think, but just because it is to Him He is wont to attribute even that which is His own, of Whom He Himself also is? Hence we have Him saying, "My doctrine is not Mine, but His that sent Me." If, therefore, in such a passage we are to understand that as His doctrine, which nevertheless He declared not to be His own, but the Father's, how much more in that other passage are we to understand the Holy Spirit as proceeding from Himself, where His words, "He proceeds from the Father," were uttered so as not to imply, He proceeds not from Me? But from Him, of Whom the Son has it that He is God (for He is God of God), He certainly has it that from Him also the Holy Spirit proceeds: and in this way the Holy Spirit has it of the Father Himself, that He should also proceed from the Son, even as He proceeds from the Father.
And twelve years later St. Augustine the Great said in Against Maximus 2:14:
The Son comes from the Father; the Holy Spirit comes from the Father. The former is born; the latter proceeds. Hence, the former is the Son of the Father from Whom He is born, but the latter is the Spirit of both because He proceeds from both. When the Son spoke of the Spirit, He said, "He proceeds from the Father" [Jn 15:26], because the Father is the author of His procession. The Father begot a Son and, by begetting Him, gave it to Him that the Holy Spirit proceeds from Him as well. If He did not proceed from Him, He would not say to His disciples, "Receive the Holy Spirit" [Jn 20:22], and give the Spirit by breathing on them. He signified that the Holy Spirit also proceeds from Him and showed outwardly by blowing what He was giving inwardly by breathing. If He were born, He would be born not from the Father alone or from the Son alone, but from both of Them; He would beyond any doubt be the son of both of Them. But because He is in no sense the son of both of Them, it was necessary that He not be born from both. He is, therefore, the Spirit of both, by proceeding from both.
St. Maximus the Confessor, St. Augustine the Great, and St. Thomas Aquinas, pray for us!

Notes and References
{1} Aquinas, St. Thomas (Doctor Angelicus), Summa Theologica 1:36:2:1a.
{2} Ibid.

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