Shedd on the Filioque

September 1, 2013

in Filioque, Reformed View

220px-W._G._T._SheddW.G.T Shedd, & Gomes, A. W. (2003). Dogmatic theology. “First one-volume edition (3 vols. in 1)”–Jacket. (3rd ed.) (270). Phillipsburg, N.J.: P & R Pub.

The deity of the Holy Spirit is proved by the nature of his spiration and procession. It is marked by the same characteristics with those of the generation of the Son. It is eternal, never beginning and never ending. It is necessary, not dependent upon the optional will of either the first or second persons. And it is an emanation out of the one eternal essence, not the creation of a new substance from nothing. The procession of the Holy Spirit is not that temporal and external afflatus which terminates upon creatures in inspiration, regeneration, and sanctification; but that eternal and internal spiration whereby a subsistence in the divine essence results.

How procession differs from generation it is impossible to explain:

“That there is a difference between generation and procession, we have taught, but what is the manner of the difference, we do not at all pretend to teach” (John of Damascus, Concerning the Orthodox Faith 4.10);

“there is a difference between generation and procession, but I do not know how to distinguish them, because both are ineffable” (Augustine, Against Maximin 19).

Some of the Schoolmen attempted to explain the difference by saying that the generation of the Son is by the mode of the understanding and intellect, and hence the Son is called Wisdom and Word; but the procession of the Spirit is by the mode of the will and affections, and hence the Spirit is called Love.

Turretin (3.21.3) distinguishes the difference by the following particulars: (1) in respect to the source: generation is from the Father alone; procession is from the Father and Son; (2) in respect to the effects: generation not only results in a hypostatic personality but in resemblance; the Son is the image of the Father, but the Spirit is not the image of the Father and Son; an image is a representation of one, not of two persons; generation is accompanied with the power to communicate the essence, procession is not; (3) in respect to the order of relationship: filiation is second and procession is third; in the order of nature, not of time, spiration is after generation; the Father and Son spirate the Spirit, not as two different essences, in each of whom resides a spirative energy—which would result in two processions—but as two personal subsistences of one essence, who concur in one resulting procession; there are two spirations, but only one procession (Turretin 3.31.6).

The Latin church objected to the Greek insertion of monou in article 7 of the Athanasian Creed: apo tou (monou) patros; and the Greek church blamed the Latin for adding filioque to the Nicene Creed at the Council of Toledo in 589. At the Council of Florence in 1439 a compromise was made, whereby it was decided that the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father by (per) the Son. But the Greeks receded from this and stood upon their first position. The use of per implies instrumental agency, which is inaccurate.

Says Turretin (3.31.5):

Although the Greeks ought not to be regarded as heretics for their opinion, neither ought the schism between the West and East to have arisen upon this ground, yet the opinion of the Latins is more in accordance with Scriptures, and there is more reason for retaining it than for rejecting it: Because (1) the Spirit is sent not less by the Son than by the Father (John 16:7); but he could not be sent by the Son, unless he proceeded from him; (2) the Spirit is called the Spirit of the Son, not less than of the Father (Gal. 4:6; Rom. 8:9; Phil. 1:19); (3) whatever the Spirit has, he has not less from the Son than from the Father (John 16:13–15); and as the Son is said to be from the Father because he does not speak of himself, but from the Father, from whom he has all things, so the Spirit ought to be said to proceed from the Son, because he hears and speaks from him; and (4) Christ breathed the Spirit upon his disciples (20:22), and this temporal spiration implies an eternal.

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