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THE DOCTRINE OF THE HOLY GHOST AND OF THE TRINITY.
I. In the baptismal formula, along with the confession of belief in the Father and Son, there had always been from early times a confession also of belief in the Holy Spirit. This belief expressed the thought that Christianity has within it the Spirit of the Father—the Spirit of Christ—the living, illuminating, divine principle. The Spirit is the gift of God. But after the Montanist controversies the combination of Spirit and Church, Spirit and individual Christians came to have a secondary place in regular theological thought. The World-Church and its theologians busied themselves instead with the Spirit in so far as it spoke through the prophets, in so far as it had before this brooded “over the waters”, in so far as it descended on Christ at His baptism, etc.—though this soon became a minor point—or took part in His human origin. But there was quite an accumulation of difficulties here for rational theology. These difficulties lay (1) in the notion itself, in so far as πνεῦμα also described the substance of God and of the Logos; (2) in the impossibility of recognising any specific activity of the Spirit in the present; (3) in the desire to ascribe to the Logos rather than to the Spirit the active working in the universe and in the history of revelation. The form of the Spirit’s existence, its rank and function were accordingly quite uncertain. By one the Holy Spirit was considered as a gift and as an impersonal—and therefore also an unbegotten—power which Christ had promised to send and which consequently became an actual fact only after Christ’s Ascension; by another as a primitive power in the history of revelation; by a third as an active 109power in the world-process also. Others again attributed to it a personal existence misled by the expression “the Paraclete”. Of these some regarded it as a created divine being, others as the highest spiritual creature made by God, the highest angel; others again as the second προβολή or “derivatio” of the Father, and thus as a permanently existing Being sharing in the God-head itself; while once more others identified it with the eternal Son Himself. There were actually some too who were inclined to regard the Spirit, which is feminine in Hebrew, and which was identified with the “Wisdom” of God, as a female principle.237237The fact that in the original draft of the Apostolical Constitutions (II. 26) a parallel is drawn between the deaconess and the Holy Spirit is perhaps connected with this too. The views held regarding its rank and functions also were accordingly very different. All who regarded the Spirit as personal, subordinated it to the Father and probably also as a rule to the Son when they distinguished it from the latter, for the relation of Father and Son did not seem to permit of the existence of a third being of the same kind, and, besides, Christ had expressly said that he would send the Spirit, and therefore it looked as if the latter were His servant or messenger. The other idea that the Logos is the organ of the Spirit or Wisdom is very rarely met with. This or an idea similar to it was the one reached by those who distinguished between the impersonal Logos or Wisdom eternally inherent in God and the created Logos or Wisdom, and then identified the divine in Christ with the latter. As to its functions, we meet with no further speculations regarding their peculiar nature after the attempts of the Montanists to define them, until a very much later date when at last theologians had learned to commit a special department of the mysteries to the care of the Spirit. All that was meanwhile said regarding the activity of the Spirit in the world-process, in the history of revelation, in regeneration, including illumination and sanctification, was of a wholly vague kind, and was frequently either the expression of perplexity or of exegetical learning, but never gave evidence of any special theological interest in the question. We must not, however, overlook the fact that in Church theology in its oldest form as we see it in Irenæus 110and Tertullian, we find an attempt made to give to the Spirit, which had necessarily to be ranked as a being of special dignity within the Godhead, an immanent relation to the Father and the. Son. The passages in Irenæus referring to the Spirit are of special importance, though Tertullian was the first to call Him “God”. One can trace within theology a well-marked line of development running from Justin through Tertullian to Origen.238238But it is only in so far as Origen teaches the pre-temporal “processio” of the Spirit that his doctrine betokens an advance on that of Tertullian, who still essentially limits the action of the Spirit to the history of the world and of revelation. By the “unius substantiæ” which he regards as true of the Spirit also, Tertullian comes nearer the views which finally prevailed in the Fourth Century than Origen. For the remarkable formula used by Hippolytus in connection with the Spirit, see Vol. II., p. 261. After Sabellius, starting from totally different premises, had by his speculations drawn attention to the Holy Spirit, Origen here too supplied a definite conception on the subject just as he had in connection with the doctrine of the Logos. While admitting the want of any certainty in what was given by tradition, he treated the doctrine of the Holy Spirit entirely according to the analogy of the doctrine of the Logos, and even demanded that it should be so treated. The Holy Spirit forms part of the Godhead, it is a permanently existing divine Being, but it is at the same time a creature, and a creature, in fact, which occupies a stage lower than the Son, because it, like everything created, has come into being by the Son or Logos. The sphere of its activity is correspondingly smaller than that of the Son. Origen declared that intensively it was more important, but he did not give this its due value, since for him the categories of magnitude, space, and causality were in the last resort the highest.239239On the doctrine of the Holy Spirit before Origen and in Origen see Vol. II. passim, Kahnis, L. vom. h. Geist, 1847, Bigg, The Christian Platonists, 171 sq., Nitzsch, pp. 289-293. The fact that the doctrine of the Holy Spirit was treated in Tertullian (adv. Prax.) and Origen in a way perfectly analogous to that followed in the case of the doctrine of the Logos, is the strongest possible proof that there was no specific theological interest taken in this point of doctrine.240240It is in Irenæus alone that we find indications of any specific speculation regarding the Holy Spirit. Nor was it different in 111the period following. The Arian and the Arianising formula of the Fourth Century still at least embody the attempt to state in reference to the Spirit what, according to the old Church tradition, describes the character of its active working, little as that is; the pompous formula of orthodoxy, however, merely gives expression to the general thought that there is no foreign element in the Godhead, and shews, moreover, that the doctrine of the hypostasis of the Holy Spirit was already beginning to be an embarrassing one for the Church.
The doctrine of Origen that the Holy Spirit is an individual hypostasis and that it is a created being included within the sphere of the Godhead itself, found only very partial acceptance for more than a century. And even in the cases in which, under the influence of the baptismal formula, reference was made to a Trinity in the Godhead—which came to be more and more the practice,—the third Being was still left in the vague, and, as at an earlier period, we hear of the promised gift of the Holy Spirit. Nevertheless the philosophical theologians became more and more convinced that it was necessary to assume the presence not merely of a threefold economy in the Godhead, but of three divine beings or substances. In the first thirty years after the commencement of the Arian controversy, the Holy Spirit is scarcely ever mentioned,241241See Basil., ep. 125: ὁ δὲ περὶ τοῦ πνεύματος λόγος ἐν παραδρομῇ κεῖται, οὐδεμιᾶς ἐξεργασίας ἀξιωθείς, διὰ τὸ μηδέπω τότε κεκινῆσθαι τὸ ζήτημα, i.e., at the time of the Nicene Council. although the Lucianists and consequently Arius too regarded it as indeed a divine hypostasis, but at the same time as the most perfect creature, which the Father had created through the Son and which therefore was inferior to the Son also in nature, dignity, and position.242242See above, p. 19. The view of Eunomius is representative of the whole group; see the documents which originated with him and Basil c. Eunom. III. 5. Epiphanius has pithily summarised the Arian doctrine (H. 69 c. 56): τὸ ἅγιον πνεῦμα κτίσμα πάλιν κτίσματός φασιν εἶναι διὰ τὸ διὰ τοῦ υἱοῦ τὰ πάντα γεγενῆσθαι (John I. 3). In their Confessions they kept to the old simple tradition: πιστεύομεν καὶ εἰς τὸ πνεῦμα τὸ ἅγιον, τὸ εἰς παράκλησιν καὶ ἁγιασμὸν καὶ τελείωσιν τοῖς πιστεύουσι διδόμενον,243243See the so-called Confession of Lucian, i.e., the Second Creed of Antioch.; cf. besides the third and fourth formulæ of Antioch, the so-called formula of Sardica—a proof that the orthodox theologians of the West had not yet given attention to the question; their statement: πιστεύομεν τὸν παράκλητον, τὸ ἅγιον πνεῦμα, ὅπερ ἡμῖν αὐτὸς ὁ κύριος καὶ ἐπηγγείλατο καὶ ἕπεμψεν· καὶ τοῠτο πιστεύομεν πεμφθέν, καὶ τοῦτο οὐ πέπονθεν, ἀλλ᾽ ὁ ἄνθρωπος, if it has been correctly handed down, shews, besides, a highly suspicious want of clearness; further the formula macrostich., the formulæ of Philippopolis and the later Sirmian and Homœan formula; in the formula of 357 we have “spiritus paracletus per filium est.” “and we believe 112in the Holy Spirit given to believers for consolation, and sanctification, and perfection.” They recognised three graduated hypostases in the Godhead. The fact that Athanasius did not in the first instance think of the Spirit at all, regarding which also nothing was fixed at Nicæa, is simply a proof of his intense interest in his doctrine of the Son. The first trace of the emergence of the question as to the Spirit is found, so far as I know, in the Anathemas (20 ff.) of the very conservative Creed of the Eusebian Council of Sirmium (351). Here the identification of the Holy Spirit with the unbegotten God and with the Son, as also the designation of it as μέρος τοῦ πατρὸς ἢ τοῦ υἱοῦ, (part of the Father and of the Son,) are forbidden.244244The theology of Marcellus might certainly have drawn the attention of the theologians to the doctrine of the Spirit; for Marcellus discussed this doctrine although not with fulness; see Zahn, op. cit., p. 147 ff. According to Marcellus the Spirit proceeds from the Father and from the Logos, and forms part of the divine substance; its special work does not, however, begin till after that of the Son. It was towards the end of the fifties that Athanasius directed his attention to the doctrine of the Holy Spirit, and he at once took up a firm position.245245See Athanas. ad Serap. If the Holy Spirit belongs to the Godhead it must be worshipped, if it is an independent being then all that holds good of the Son holds good of it also, for otherwise the Triad would be divided and blasphemed and the rank of the Son too would again become doubtful—this is for him a conclusive argument. There can be nothing foreign, nothing created in the Triad which is just the one God (ὅλη τριὰς εἷς Θεός ἐστιν). Athanasius was not only able to adduce a number of passages from Scripture in support of this assertion, but he also endeavoured to verify his view by a consideration of the functions of the Holy Spirit. The principle of sanctification cannot be of the same nature as the beings which it sanctifies; the source of life for creatures cannot itself be a creature; 113he who is the medium whereby we enter into fellowship with the Divine nature must himself possess this nature.246246Passages op. cit., above all, I. 23, 24: εἰ κτίσμα δὲ ἦν τὸ πνεῦμα τὸ ἅγιον, οὐκ ἄν τις ἐν αὐτῷ μετουσία τοῦ Θεοῦ γένοιτο ἡμῖν· ἀλλ᾽ ἢ ἄρα κτίσματι μὲν συνηπτόμεθα, ἀλλότριοι δὲ τῆς θείας φύσεως ἐγινόμεθα, ὡς κατὰ μηδὲν αὐτῆς μετέχοντες . . . εἰ δὲ τῇ τοῦ πνεύματος μετουσίᾳ γινόμεθα κοινωνοὶ θείας φύσεως, μαίνοιτ᾽ ἄν τις λέγων τὸ πνεῦμα τῆς κτιστῆς φύσεως, καὶ μὴ τῆς τοῦ Θεοῦ· διὰ τοῦτο γὰρ καὶ ἐν οἷς γίνεται οὗτοι θεοποιοῦνται· εἰ δὲ θεοποιεῖ, οὐκ ἀμφίβολον, ὅτι ἡ τούτου φύσις Θεοῦ ἐστι. On the other hand, He who works as the Father and the Son work, or to put it more accurately, He who bestows one and the same grace—for there is only one grace, namely, that of the Father through the Son in the Holy Spirit—is part of the Godhead, and whoever rejects Him separates himself from the Faith generally. Thus everything is really already expressed in the baptismal formula; for without the Holy Spirit it would be destroyed, since it is the Spirit who throughout completes or perfects what is done. The personality of the Spirit is simply presupposed by Athanasius in the indefinite form in which he also presupposed the personality of the Son. The attempts to distinguish the peculiar nature of the activity of the Spirit from that of the Father and the Son did not indeed get beyond empty words such as perfection, connection, termination of activity, etc. The question as to why the Son could not do all this Himself, and why, if there was here a third, the existence of a Fourth was not also possible, was left unanswered. It is necessary to believe in the Trinity as handed down by tradition: “and it is manifest that the Spirit is not one being of the many nor an angel [one of many], but one unique being, or rather, He belongs to the Logos who is one, and to God who is one, and is also of the same substance” (καὶ οὐκ ἄδηλον, ὅτι οὐκ ἔστι τῶν πολλῶν τὸ πνεῦμα, ἀλλ᾽ οὐδὲ ἄγγελος, ἀλλ᾽ ἕν ὄν. μᾶλλον δὲ τοῦ λόγοῦ ἑνὸς ὄντος ἴδιον καὶ τοῦ Θεοῦ ἑνὸς ὄντος ἴδιον καὶ ὁμοούσιόν ἐστίν).247247Ad Serap. I. 27. Athanasius also appeals in support of this belief to the tradition of the Catholic Church (c. 28 sq.), though he is able to construe it ideally only and does not quote any authorities. The “Tropicists” as he calls those who teach erroneous doctrine in reference to the Holy Spirit, are in his view no better than the Arians.114
The letters of Athanasius to Serapion of Thmuis were called forth by the complaints of this bishop about the intrigues of those who taught false doctrine regarding the Holy Spirit. As a matter of fact, amongst the Semi-Arians the doctrine of the Holy Spirit was now purposely developed in opposition to the Homousia. It was in particular the highly esteemed chief of the Thracian Semi-Arians, Macedonius, at a later date the deposed bishop of Constantinople, who defended the doctrine that the Spirit is a creature similar to the angels, a being subordinate to the Father and the Son and in their service.248248On Macedonius see the articles in the Diction. of Chr. Biogr. and in Herzog’s R.-Encykl, and in addition Gwatkin, pp. 160-181, 208. The doctrine is given in Athan. ad Serap. I. 1 f. Socrat. II. 45, 38, Sozom. IV. 27, etc., Basil, ep. 251, Theodoret. II. 6. The Macedonians laid stress on the difference between the particles ἐκ, διά, ἐν, as used of the hypostases, and emphasised the fact that the Holy Scripture does not describe the Holy Spirit as an object of adoration, and pointed out that the relation of Father and Son did not admit of a third. What the τρίτη διαθήκη of the Macedonians was (see Gregor. Naz. Orat. 31. 7), I do not know. It is worth noting with regard to these Semi-Arians that the more their common opposition to the Homœans and Anomœans drove them to side with the Nicæans the more firmly they stuck to their doctrine of the Spirit. It looked as if they wished to preserve in their doctrine of the Holy Spirit the Conservativism which they had had to abandon as regards the doctrine of the Son. It was at the Synod of Alexandria (362) that the orthodox first took up the definite position with regard to this question that whoever regards the Holy Spirit as a creature and separates it from the substance of Christ, in so doing divides up the Holy Trinity, gives a hypocritical adherence to the Nicene Faith, and has merely in appearance renounced Arianism.249249See Athan., Tom. ad Antioch. 3, see also 5: τὸ ἄγιον πνεῦμα οὐ κτίσμα οὐδὲ ξένον ἀλλ᾽ ἴδιον καὶ ἀδιαίρετον τῆς οὐσίας τοῦ υἱοῦ καὶ τοῦ πατρός. But what was thus firmly established by the Alexandrians by no means at once became law for the orthodox in the East. The statements regarding the Spirit250250The formula of the revised Creed of Jerusalem, i.e., the later Creed of Constantinople, is characteristic. It only demands the complete adoration and glorifying of the Spirit along with the Father and Son, but otherwise confines itself to general predicates: “τὸ κύριον, τὸ ζωοποιόν, τὸ ἐκ τοῦ πατρὸς ἐκπορευόμενον, τὸ λαλῆσαν διὰ τῶν προφητῶν.” These are undoubtedly of a very exalted kind and seem also to exclude the idea of the dependence of the Spirit on the Son, but nevertheless they do not get the length of the complete Homousia. were indeed further amplified 115in subsequent years in connection with the remodelling of the old Confessions, but amongst the Homoiousians who were becoming Homousians, the greatest uncertainty continued to prevail up till 380. The thirty-first oration of Gregory of Nazianzus which was composed at that time, proves this.251251He writes, “Of the wise amongst us some consider the Holy Spirit to be an energy, others a creature, others God, while others again cannot make up their minds to adopt any definite view out of reverence for Scripture, as they put it, because it does not make any very definite statement on the point. On this account they neither accord to Him divine adoration nor do they refuse it to Him, and thus take a middle road, but which is really a very bad path. Of those again who hold Him to be God, some keep this pious belief to themselves, while others state it openly. Others to a certain degree measure the Godhead since like us they accept the Trinity, but they put a great distance between the three by maintaining that the first is infinite in substance and power, the second in power, but not in substance, while the third is infinite in neither of these two respects.” For the details see Ullmann, p. 264 f.; at pages 269-275 he has set forth the doctrine of Gregory regarding the Holy Spirit, together with the Scriptural proofs. Meanwhile it was just the Cappadocians who did most towards getting the orthodox conception naturalised in the Church, namely, Basil in his work against Eunomius (lib. III.) and in the tractate “de spiritu sancto,” Gregory of Nazianzus in several of his orations (31, 37, 44), and Gregory of Nyssa in his amplifications of Trinitarian doctrine. They had apparently learned something from the letters of Athanasius ad Serap., for they repeat his arguments and give them more formal development. But neither in Basil nor in Gregory of Nazianzus is there the stringency which marks the thought of Athanasius. The absence of any tangible tradition exercised a strong influence252252Gregory of Nazianzus has consequently (Orat. 31.2) to begin by remarking that he had been accused of introducing a Θεὸς ξένος καὶ ἄγραφος. He himself practically admits the want of any explicit Scriptural proof, and has recourse to the plea (c. 3) that “love of the letter is a cloak for impiety.” Basil undoubtedly appealed (de s. s. 29) to Irenæus, Clemens Alex., Origen, and Dionysius of Rome in defence of his doctrine, but he felt all the same that there was little evidence in support of it. Gregory made a similar admission. on them, and at bottom they are already satisfied—Basil at any rate—with the avowal that the Spirit is not in any sense a creature.253253Cf. also the remarkable words of Gregory of Naz. Vol. III., p. 230. The striking utterances of the Cappadocians regarding the letter of Holy Scripture, tradition kerygma, and dogma all owe their origin to the troublesome situation created by the doctrine of the Holy Spirit. The Greeks of later days no longer found themselves in such a predicament of this kind, and consequently they did not require to repeat the bold statements regarding tradition. 116Gregory of Nyssa as an Origenist and speculative Trinitarian carried the doctrine further.254254See also the work of Didymus, περὶ τριάδος, edid. Mingarelli, particularly the Second Book, c. 6 sq., written about 380, which contains the fullest Fourth Century proof of the complete Godhead of the Holy Spirit which we possess. Previous to this Didymus had already composed a tractate “de spiritu sancto”. Of special interest further is the “οίκονομία”, that is, the pædagogic or politic reticence which the Cappadocians permitted themselves and others in connection with the doctrine of the Holy Spirit. According to Gregory of Naz. God Himself merely indicated the Godhead of the Holy Spirit in the N. T. and did not plainly reveal it till later on in order not to lay too great a burden on men (!)—a theory which over-throws the whole Catholic doctrine of tradition. It is thus also permitted to the faithful now to imitate this divine “economy” and to bring forward the doctrine of the Spirit with caution and to introduce it gradually. “Those who regard the Holy Spirit as God are godly men illuminated with knowledge, and those who say that He is God, when this is done in presence of well-disposed hearers, have something heroic about them, but if it be done in presence of the vulgar-minded it shews that they do not possess the true teaching wisdom (εἰ δὲ ταπεινοῖς, οὐκ οἰκονομικοι), because they are casting their pearls into the mud, or are giving strong meat instead of milk,” and so on (Orat. 41.6). Gregory defends the conduct of Basil also, who, watched by the Arians in his lofty post in Cæsarea, guarded against openly calling the Holy Spirit “God” because the γυμνὴ φωνή that the Holy Spirit is God would have cost him his bishopric. (Orat. 43.68.) He acknowledged the Godhead of the Spirit “economically” only, i.e., when the time was suitable for so doing. He was sharply blamed for this conduct by the rigidly orthodox clerics, as Gregory tells us (Ep. 26, al. 20). They complained that while Basil expressed himself admirably regarding the Father and the Son, he tore away the Spirit from the divine fellowship as rivers wash away the sand on their banks and hollow out the stones; he did not frankly confess the truth, but acted rather from policy than from truly pious feeling, and concealed the ambiguity of his teaching by the art of speech. Gregory who was regarded as a suspected person himself, stood up for his friend; a man, he said, occupying such an important post as Basil did, must surely proceed with some prudence and circumspection in proclaiming the truth (βέλτιον οἰκονομηθῆναι τὴν ἀλήθειαν) and make some concession to the haziness of the spirit of the time so as not to still further damage the good cause by any public pronouncement. The difference between Athanasius and the religious-orthodox on the one hand, and the theological-orthodox on the other, comes out here with special clearness. Athanasius would have indignantly rejected that “οἰκονομηθῆναι τὴν ἀλήθειαν”, because he did not regard God Himself as a politician or a pedagogue, who acts κατ᾽ οἰκονομίαν, but as the Truth. If he had ever acted as the Cappadocians did, the Homœans would have been the victors. Still, on the other hand, we ought not to judge the Cappadocians too severely. As followers of Origen they regarded the loftiest utterances of the Faith as Science; but Science admits, in fact often demands a pedagogic and economic or accommodating method of procedure. Just as Basil made a distinction between κηρύγματα and δόγματα, so Gregory (Orat. 40) concluded his Decalogue of Faith with the words: ἔχεις τοῦ μυστηρίου τὰ ἔκφορα, καὶ ταῖς τῶν πολλῶν ἀκοαῖς οὐκ ἀπόρρητα· τὰ δὲ ἄλλα εἴσω μαθήσῃ, τῆς τριάδος χαριζομένης, ἅ καὶ κρύφεις παρὰ σεαυτῷ σφραγῖδι κρατούμενα. As the theologians were at a loss how to accord to the Spirit a peculiar mode of being in relation to the Father, they hit upon the plan of attributing to it, following some passages in St John, eternal sending 117forth (ἔκπεμψις) and procession (ἐκπόρευσις). Just as in the second century the begetting of Christ whereby he came to exist on this earth had been made into a super-terrestrial begetting then became an eternal begetting, while the “being begotten” next came to be regarded as the supreme characteristic of the second hypostasis, so in the fourth century an “eternal sending” of the Spirit was made out of the promised “sending” of the Holy Spirit and was regarded as descriptive of the essential characteristic of the third hypostasis within the Holy Trinity. Nowhere can the work of imaginative conception be more plainly recognised than here. Behind a history already in itself a wonderful one, and the scene of which is laid partly in the Godhead and partly within humanity, there was put by a process of abstraction and reduplication a second history the events of which are supposed to pass entirely within the Godhead itself. The former history is to get its stability through the latter which comprises “the entire mystery of our Faith.”
The matter was much more quickly settled in the West. Hilary, it is true, was anything but clear as regards doctrine, but this was merely because he had eaten of the tree of Greek theology. The general unreasoned conviction in the West was that the Holy Spirit, belief in whom was avowed in the Apostles’ Creed, is the one God likewise.
When the question as to the personality of the Spirit emerged, it was as quickly settled that it must be a persona, for the nature of God is not so poor that His Spirit cannot be a person.—(It has to be noted that persona and our “person” are not the same thing.) The views of Lactantius again on this point were different. Since the year 362 the orthodox at several Councils in the West and then in Asia had pronounced in favour of 118the complete Godhead of the Spirit255255Their leaders, in addition to Macedonius, were Eustathius of Sebaste, Eleusius of Cyzikus, and probably also Basil of Ancyra. In Marathonius of Nicomedia the party had a member who was held in high honour both because of his position and his ascetic life. The Macedonians in general made a deep impression on their contemporaries by their ascetic practices and by their determined struggle against the Homœans. In the countries on the Hellespont they were the most important party. in opposition to the Arians, as we see from the Confession of Eunomius, and also to the Pneumatomachians.256256The most important utterances are the Epistle of the Alexandrian Council of 363, the declarations of the Westerns under Damasus in the years 369, 376, 377, the resolution of an Illyrian Council, (given in Theodoret IV. 9), the Council at Antioch in 379, which is decisive as regards the East in so far as those present avowed their belief in the Western doctrine including the doctrine of the Spirit. Compare, besides, the Confession of Basil (Hahn, § 121): βαπτιζομεν εἰς τριάδα ὁμοούσιον, that of Epiphanius in the Ancorat. (374): πνεῦμα ἄκτιστον, and that produced by Charisius (Hahn, § 144): πνεῦμα ὁμοούσιον πατρὶ καὶ ὑιῷ. The big Eastern Council summoned to meet at Constantinople in 381 by Theodosius originally included thirty-six Macedonians amongst its members. But they could not be got to assent to the new doctrine of the Holy Spirit, spite of all the imperial efforts made to win them over. They were accordingly compelled to leave the Council.257257See Socr. V. 8; Sozom. VII. 7, 9; Theodoret V. 8. The latter reaffirmed the Nicene Creed, but gave to it a detailed dogmatic explanation which has not been preserved, in which the complete homousia of the Spirit was avowed, and in the same way the first canon of the Council passes condemnation on the Semi-Arians or “Pneumatomachians”.258258It follows from a communication of the Council held at Constantinople in 382, that the Council issued a “tomus” on the doctrine of the Trinity. That the formula in reference to the Holy Spirit which is given in the so-called Creed of Constantinople, did not proceed from the Council of 381 and cannot have proceeded from it, since it is not sufficiently different from the view of the Macedonians, has been shewn above, p. 93. The pronouncements of the years following confirmed the final result; see the epistle of the Council of Constantinople of 382,259259Theodoret V. 9. but above all, the anathemas of Damasus.260260C. 16 f., see Theodoret V. 11. The doctrine of the homousia of the Spirit from this time onward was as much a part of orthodoxy as the doctrine of the homousia of the Son. But since according to 119the Greek way of conceiving of the matter, the Father continued to be regarded as the root of the Godhead, the perfect homousia of the Holy Spirit necessarily always seemed to the Greeks to be called in question whenever he was derived from the Son also. He consequently seemed to be inferior to the Son and thus to be a grandchild of the Father, or else to possess a double root. Then, besides, the dependence of the Spirit on the Son was obstinately maintained by the Arians and Semi-Arians on the ground that certain passages in the Bible supported this view, and in the interest of their conception of a descending Trinity in three stages. Thus the Greeks had constantly to watch and see that the procession of the Spirit from the Father alone was taught, and after the revised Creed of Jerusalem became an ecumenical Creed, they had a sacred text in support of their doctrine, which came to be as important as the doctrine itself.
II. The Cappadocians261261Athanasius prepared the way in his letters ad Serapionem. and their great teacher, Apollinaris of Laodicea,262262As is proved by his correspondence with Basil and as his own writings shew, Apollinaris was the first who completely developed the orthodox doctrine of the Trinity. He was, however, more strongly influenced by Aristotle than the Cappadocians were, and accordingly in his case the conception of the one divine substance was a shade nearer the idea of a mere generic conception than with them, although he too was in no way satisfied with the genuine conception (see above p. 84). Apollinaris further retained the old image of αὐγή, ἀκτίς, ἥλιος, not, however, as it would appear, in order by it to illustrate the unity, but rather the difference in the greatness of the persons (περὶ τριαδ. 12, 17). (The Logos had already a side turned in the direction of finitude.) His followers afterwards directly objected to the doctrine of the Cappadocians and vice versa. We are now better acquainted with Apollinaris’s doctrine of the Trinity than formerly, since Dräseke (Ztschr. f. K.-Gesch. VI., p. 503 ff.) has shewn it to be very probable that the pseudo-Justinian Ἔκθεσις πίστεως ἤτοι περὶ τριάδος is by him, and that the detailed statements of Gregory of Nazianzus in the first letter to Kledonius refer to this work (op. cit., p. 515 ff.). From the work, κατὰ μέρος πίστις, which Caspari has rightly claimed for Apollinaris (Alte and neue Quellen, 1879, p. 65 f.), and which represents a dogmatic advance as compared with the tractate περὶ τριάδος, it likewise follows that Apollinaris is to be reckoned amongst the founders of the orthodox doctrine of the Trinity,—also because of his advanced doctrine of the Holy Spirit in which he teaches the homousia—and that in fact he ought to be called the very first of these. before them, reached the doctrine of the Trinity, which remained the dominant one in the Church, though it always continued to be capable of being differently restated by 120theologians. We are to believe in one God, because we are to believe in one divine substance or essence (οὐσία, φύσις, essentia, substantia, natura) in three distinct subjects or persons (ὑπόστασις,persona [πρόσωπον]). The substance is to be thought of neither as a mere generic conception nor, on the other hand, as a fourth alongside of the three subjects, but as a reality, i.e., the unity must coincide with the real substance. The subjects again are not to be represented as mere attributes nor, on the other hand, as separate persons, but as independent, though apart from their mutual relationship, unthinkable, partakers of the divine substance. Their likeness of nature which is involved in their community of substance finds expression in the identity of their attributes and activities, their difference in the characteristic note (τρόπος ὑπάρξεως, ἰδίωμα) of their manner of existence as signified by the ideas, unbegotten, begotten, proceeding from (ἀγεννησία, γεννησία, ἐκπόρευσις). The special characteristic attached to the Father implies that He is the source, the root, the first principle of the Godhead, while the two other persons—within the divine substance—are “caused”. The Father is greater than the other two in so far as He is the first principle and the cause (κατὰ τὸν τῆς ἀρχῆς καὶ αἰτίας λόγον). The Godhead is consequently in itself and apart from all relation to the world, an inexhaustible living existence and no rigid and barren unity, “as the Jews teach.” Yet neither is it a divided multiplicity “as the heathen think”, but, on the contrary, unity in Trinity and Trinity in unity. Because the Godhead is what is common to the Three, there is only one God. At the same time the hypostatic difference is not to be regarded as a merely nominal one, but it has not reference to the substance, the will, the energy, the power, time, and consequently not to the rank of the persons. From the unity results the unity of activity. Every divine act is to be understood as a working of the Father through the Son in the Holy Spirit as is expressed in the terms, primal source, mediating power, and completion. See, above all, Gregor. Naz. Orat. 27-32.
This doctrinal system shews itself to be a radical modification of the system of Origen under the influence of the religious thought defended by Athanasius and the West, that the Godhead which appeared, Jesus Christ, and the Godhead which is 121still active in the Church, the Holy Spirit, are the Godhead themselves.263263Gregory designates as opponents of the correct doctrine of the Trinity (1) the Sabellians, (2) the Arians, (3)—this is extremely remarkable—the hyper-orthodox who teach the doctrine of three Gods equal in substance (οἱ ἄγαν παρ᾽ ἡμῖν ὁρθόδοξοι, Orat. 2, 37). The true orthodoxy is always represented as the middle path. For details, see Ullmann, pp. 232-275. The Cappadocians were pupils both of Origen264264The theology of Origen was transplanted into the Pontus country by Gregorius Thaumaturgus. It is thus that Marcellus also probably became acquainted with it and combatted it. and of Athanasius. This fact explains their doctrinal system.
Before them, however, there had been a theologian in the ancient Church who had come under influences wholly similar to those which had affected them, and who because of this, also anticipated in a striking way their formulae when he saw that he must amplify the doctrine of God. This was Tertullian. Tertullian’s theology was dependent on the one hand on Justin and the Apologists, and on the other on Irenæus, but besides this the modalistic Monarchianism which at that time held sway in the West and which he combatted, exercised a strong influence upon him. Consequently the conditions under which Tertullian composed his work “adv. Praxean” were, mutatis mutandis, the same as those by which the Cappadocians were surrounded, and they accordingly led to a similar result, so that we may say: the orthodox doctrine of the Trinity already announced its presence even in its details, in Tertullian—and only in him and in his pupil Novatian.265265Owing to the importance of the matter it may be allowable here to go back again to Tertullian (see Vol. ii., p. 258 f.). The crude part of his doctrine and the points in which it diverges from Cappadocian orthodoxy are indeed sufficiently obvious. Son and Spirit proceed from the Father solely in view of the work of creation and revelation; the Father can send forth as many “officiales” as He chooses (adv. Prax. 4); Son and Spirit do not possess the entire substance of the Godhead, but on the contrary are “portiones” (9); they are subordinate to the Father (minores); they are in fact transitory manifestations: the Son at last gives everything back again to the Father; the Father alone is absolutely invisible, and though the Son is indeed invisible too, He can become visible and can do things which would be simply unworthy of the Father, and so on. All these utterances along with other things shew that Tertullian was a theologian who occupied a position between Justin and Origen. But the remarkable thing is that at the same time we have a view in a highly developed form which coincides with the Cappadocian view, and—this is genuinely Western—in some points in fact approaches nearer Modalism and the teaching of Athanasius than that of Gregory and has a strong resemblance to the doctrine of an immanent Trinity, without actually being such: the Godhead in substantia, status, potestas, virtus, is one (2 ff.), there is only one divine substance and therefore there are not two or three Gods or Lords (13, 19). In this one substance there is no separatio, or divisio, or dispersio, or diversitas (3, 8, 9), though there is indeed a distributio, distinctio, dispositio, dispensatio (9, 13), an οἰκονομία in short, a differentia per distinctionem (14). Accordingly the unitas substantiæ is not in any way a singularitas numeri (22, 25)—God is not unicus et singularis (12)—but it comprises three nomina or species, formæ gradus, res, personæ, (Tertullian here, however, usually avoids the use of all substantives), see 2, 8 etc. No one of these is a mere attribute, on the contrary each is a substantiva res ex ipsius dei substantia (26); there are thus tres res et tres species unius et indivisæ substantiæ (19); these, however, are most intimately connected together (conjuncti 27); they are tres cohærentes (8, 25) without, however, being one (masc.) [rather are they one (neut. 22, 25)], because the second and the third spring ex unitate patris (19) and are accordingly God as He is, individui et inseparati a patre (18). In the divine substance there are in fact conserti et connexi gradus (8). These three gradus or persons are different from each other in proprietas and conditio, but not in substance (8, 11, 14, 15, 17, 18, 24, 25). The peculiar property of the Father is that He is a nullo prolatus et innatus (19) and also absolutely invisible. The Son is also invisible in virtue of the substance, but visible as to his conditio (14). In virtue of the substance there is in fact a perfect societas nominum; even the Son in accordance with this is “almighty” (17, 18). It is thus necessary to believe in the unitas ex semetipsa derivans trinitatem. This has already become an established truth as against Jews and heathen. What is most instructive of all, however, is to notice Tertullian’s use of “persona” as distinguished from “substantia”, because it is here that he has most plainly prepared the way for the later orthodox phraseology. The Latin Bible supplied Tertullian with the word “persona”; for (adv. Prax. 6) in Proverbs VIII. 30 it had “cottidie oblectabar in persona ejus” and in Lamentations IV. 20 (adv. Prax. 14) “spiritus personæ ejus Christus dominus.” (The LXX. has πρόσωπον in both passages.) Both passages must have attracted special notice. But Tertullian was further a jurist, and as such the conceptions “persona” and “substantia” were quite familiar to him. I accordingly conjecture—and it is probably more than a conjecture—that Tertullian always continued to be influenced in his use of these words by the juristic usage, as is specially evident from his naïve idea of a substantia impersonalis and from the sharp distinction he draws between persona and substantia. From the juristic point of view there is as little objection to the formula that several persons are possessors of one and the same substance or property, that they are in uno statu, as to the other formula that one person possesses several substances unmixed. (See Tertullian’s Christology adv. Prax. 27; Vol. ii., p. 281.) The fact that Tertullian, so far as I know, never renders “substance” by “natura”—although he takes the latter to include substance—seems to me as conclusively in favour of my view as the other fact that, in the introduction to his work (3), he attempted to elucidate the problem by making use of an image drawn from the spheres of law and politics. “Monarchy does not always require to be administered by one despot; on the contrary he may name proximæ personæ officiales, and exercise authority through them and along with them; it does not cease to be one government, especially when the Son is the co-administrator. Son and Father are, however, consortes substantiæ patris.” Tertullian’s exposition of the doctrine in which he hit upon the spirit of the West was, however, hardly understood in the East. In the East the question was taken up in a philosophical way, and there the difficulties first made themselves felt, which in the juristic way of looking at the matter bad been kept in the background. In the latter “persona” is sometimes manifestation, sometimes ideal subject, sometimes fictive subject, sometimes “individuum”, and “substantia” is the property, the substance, the Real, the actual content of the subject as distinguished from its form and manifestation (persona). It is significant that Tertullian is also able to use nomen, species, forma, gradus, and in fact even res for “persona”, so elastic is the conception, while for “substantia” he has deitas, virtus, potestas, status. On the other hand, when the question is viewed philosophically it is difficult, it is in fact actually impossible to distinguish between nature and person. The following passages will illustrate Tertullian’s use of words, (ad v. persona): adv. Valent. 4: “personales substantiæ”, sharply distinguished from “sensus, affectus, motus”; adv. Prax. 7: “filius ex sua persona profitetur patrem”; ibid: “Non vis eum substantivum habere in re per substantiæ proprietatem, ut res et persona quædam videri possit” (scil. Logos); ibid: “quæcumque ergo substantia sermonis (τοῦ λόγου) fuit, illam dico personam”; 11: “filii personam . . . sic et cetera, quæ nunc ad patrem de filio vel ad filium, nunc ad filium de patre vel ad patrem, nunc ad spiritum pronuntiantur, unamquamque personam in sua proprietate constituunt”; 12: “alium autem quomodo accipere debeas jam professus sum, personæ, non substantiæ, nomine, ad distinctionem non ad divisionem”; 13: “si una persona et dei et domini in scripturis inveniretur, etc.”; 14: “si Christus personæ paternæ spiritus est, merito spiritus, cujus personæ erat, id est patris, eum faciem suam ex unitate scilicet pronuntiavit”; 15: “manifesta et personalis distinctio conditionis (this too is a juristic conception) patris et filii”; 18: “pater prima persona, quæ ante filii nomen erat proponenda”; 21: “quo dicto (Matt. XVI. 17) Christus utriusque personæ constituit distinctionem”; 23: (on John XII. 28) “quot personæ tibi videntur, Praxea?” . . . “Non propter me ista vox (John XII. 30) venit, sed propter vos, ut credant et hi et patrem et filium in suis quemque nominibus et personis et locis”; 24: “duarum personarum conjunctio (in reference to John XIV. 10 “apparet proprietas utriusque personæ”); 26: “nam nec semel sed ter ad singula nomina in personas singulas tinguimur”; 27: “Father and Son must not be distinguished in una persona”; c. 27: “videmus duplicem statum non confusum sed conjunctum in una persona, deum et hominem Jesum”; 31: “sic voluit deus renovare sacramentum, ut nove unus crederetur per filium et spiritum, ut coram iam deus in suis propriis nominibus et personis cognosceretur.” Did not Hosius carry it into the East? (See above p. 57.)122
The Christological dogma with its formula had already had a share in the establishment of the Trinitarian dogma. Tertullian had already made use of the same conceptions for giving a fixed form both to his doctrine of God and to his Christology (adv. Prax.). The form taken by the Trinitarian doctrine of the 123Homoiousians, as represented by Basil of Ancyra and of Apollinaris, was likewise determined by their Christological speculations. (It was Christological speculation which produced the “ὁμοίωμα” 124[likeness] and which gave currency to the analogy of the conceptions. “Humanity” and “Adam” in relation to individual men.266266Natural theology also exercised an influence here and did good service to the Homousios. If it is certain that man has been created καθ᾽ ὁμοίωσιν of God, and if the view—a view which was indeed rejected—could even suggest itself, that his spirit is a portio dei (substantia divina), then the Logos appeared to have no advantage over man if the Homoousia were not attributed to Him. But the Cappadocians learned from them. Quod erat in causa, apparet in effectu! An Aristotelian and a Subordinationist element lurks in the orthodox doctrine of the Trinity as well as this element of dependence upon Christological dogma. The Christological controversies accordingly could not but re-act on the form given to the dogma of the Trinity. That their influence was not stronger than the historical evidence shews it actually to have been, is to be explained solely by the rigid form taken by the dogma so quickly rendered sacred by tradition. Anything in the way of modification was unsuccessful, and accordingly the attempts in this direction belong not to the history of dogma, but of theology. Some Monophysites who were influenced by the Aristotelian philosophy and who were thus scholars of the same type as Apollinaris, but who were also Chalcedonian theologians, attempted to give a dialectic shape to the ambiguous conceptions of “Nature” and “Person” in the Church. In doing this they naturally landed either in Tritheism or in Unitarianism, which their opponents could also represent as Quaternity whenever the three persons were reckoned as belonging to the one real Substance as Reals and not as attributes. The departure on the part of the Monophysites from orthodox dogma had not a philosophical cause only, though the period was one in which there had been a revival of Aristotelian study, but was also the result of their Christology. Since in their Christology they regarded φύσις (nature) as equal to ὑπόστασις (hypostasis),267267Οὐκ ἔστι φύσις ἀνυπόστατος—said both Monophysites and Nestorians in setting forth their Christology. This was applied to the Trinity. But the orthodox too in so far as they were Aristotelians, shunned the platonic—which was also the juristic—fiction of a φύσις ἀνυπόστατος, and this was bound to create difficulties in connection with their doctrine of the Trinity. The Theopaschian controversy is connected with this; see Chap. III. it naturally suggested itself to them to carry out the same equation in reference to the 125Trinity. But if οὐσία or φύσις be regarded as equivalent to ὐπόστασις then we have Unitarianism; while if on the other hand, in making this equation we start from the hypostasis, we have three gods. Both of these doctrines were taught amongst the Monophysites in the sixth century, or to put it more accurately, from about 530.268268Of the Monophysite Tritheists the most important are Askusnages, Johannes Philoponus against whom Leontius of Byzantium wrote “de sectis”, and Peter of Kallinico. On the works of John, see the article in the Dict. of Christ. Biogr.; an important fragment in Joh. Damasc., de hær. 83 from the “Diætetes” of John. Here it may be plainly seen that Christology determined the form of John’s doctrine of the Trinity, but that he sought to give out as Church doctrine his Aristotelian conception of the Hypostasis, viz., Nature reaching manifestation in an “individuum”, Nature itself existing only in the single substance, or in the Idea. From Leontius we gather that John spoke of τρεῖς μερικαὶ οὐσίαι and accepted the notion of an οὐσία κοινή which, however, exists only in conception. This doctrine caused divisions amongst the Monophysites, and these led the Coptic patriarch Damian to emphasise so strongly the reality of the one substance, that he could be represented as a Tetradite, although at the same time he probably took away from the independence of the persons. Cf. the Art. “Tritheisticher Streit” by Gass in the R.-Encykl. In opposition to the Tritheists Johannes Damascenus, although he was himself strongly influenced by Aristotle and based his theology on the work of the Cappadocians, gave a Modalistic turn to the theological exposition of the dogma of the Trinity, and in so doing sought to get rid of the last remains of Subordinationism. It is true that he also grants that the Father is greater than the Son (de fide orthodox. I. 8) because He is the Principle of the Son, a view which Athanasius too, founding on John XIV. 28, had always maintained, but he nevertheless conceives of the being unbegotten (ἀγεννησία) in a still higher fashion than the Cappadocians had done—namely, as a mode of being of the same kind as the being begotten (γεννησία) and procession (ἐκπόρευσις), and in order to put the unity of the Hypostases on a firm basis he not only emphasises much more strongly the “in one another” (ἐν αλλήλοις) which had already been maintained before this, rejecting the Apollinarian analogy of human-substance and man, and teaching that each person is not less dependent on others than on himself, but he also uses the questionable formula that the difference between them exists only for thought (ἐπινοία), and that there exists between them a pervasion (περιχώρησις) without, 126however, any blending (συναλοιφή) and mixture (σύμφύρσις) (I. 8). In his case too this way of putting the dogma was determined by the Christological dogma.269269See on this Bach, DG. des MA. I., pp. 53 ff., 67 ff. In the Tritheistic propositions and in the counter-movement we have the beginning of the mediæval controversy regarding Realism and Nominalism.
In the Eastern Church the further development of the dogma of the Trinity beyond the limit reached by the Cappadocians had no appreciable result.270270On the other hand the fact that the most distinguished teacher of the East propounded a doctrine of the Trinity which seems to be akin to that of Augustine was of importance for Western theology. We cannot assume that Augustine influenced John. Moreover, after this theologians were still to be found in the East who, perhaps under the influence of Mohammedanism, worked out the doctrine of the Trinity in a modalistic way. Thus in the eleventh century Elias of Nisibis in his book “On the proof of the truth of the Faith”, written against the Mohammedans, says (Horst, 1886, p. 1 f.); “Wisdom and Life are two attributes of God, which no one except Him possesses. For this reason Christians also say that He is three persons, i.e., possesses three essential attributes—namely, Essence, Wisdom which is His Word, and Life; He is, however, a single substance . . . ‘Three persons’ expresses the same as is expressed by the statement—the Almighty is God, wise, and living. The Essence is the Father, the Wisdom is the Son, the Life is the Holy Spirit.” God is thus purely a single being. I am not able to say whether Elias is alone amongst the Nestorians in teaching this heterodox doctrine. It was too unimportant in itself, and, above all, it left untouched the point in connection with which the placing of the Father above the other Hypostases came most plainly to the front. John also (I. 8) taught that the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father.271271The addition “and rests in the Son” does not require to be taken account of; see Langen, Joh. v. Damaskus, p. 283 ff. He further simply repeated the old statements that the Spirit proceeds through the Son, that He is the image of the Son as the latter is of the Father, and that He is the mediation between Father and Son, although in his day the doctrine of the Latins—the filioque—was already known in the East.272272John expressly rejects the view (l.c.) that the Spirit is from the Son or that it has its ὕπαρξις from the Son (Hom. de Sabb. s.). The Easterns clung to the statements in support of which they alleged countless passages from the writings of the Fathers of the Fourth Century, that the Spirit proceeds from the Father, or from the Father through the Son. As against the Arians and Semi-Arians they emphasised the Spirit’s independence of the Son, in so far as 127dependence meant that the Spirit was a creation of the Son, and they always continued to stick to the “from the Father”. If in the following centuries they seldom purposely emphasised it, still they always laid stress on it as being a self-evident expression of the thesis that the Father is the First Principle (ἀρχή) in the Trinity, and that accordingly the Spirit appears as depotentiated, or double caused, if it is regarded as proceeding from the Son also.273273Παρὰ τοῦ υἱοῦ or διὰ τοῦ υἱοῦ was the expression used; i.e., it was assumed from what was stated in Holy Scripture that there was a μεσιτεία on the part of the Son in connection with the ἐκπόρευσις of the Spirit; e.g., Athan. ad Serap. I. 20, so that Athanasius himself could say, “what the Holy Spirit has, it has from (παρὰ) the Son” (Orat. IV. 24), but the Father alone is the cause of the Spirit; cf. Basil. ep. 38. 4, de sp. s. 6 f.; Gregor., Naz., Orat. 31. 7, 8, 29; Gregor., Nyss., Orat. cat. 3 and many passages in his work against Eunomius. This system of doctrine continued to be the dominant one, and it makes no difference to it that a passage has always been pointed to in Epiphanius and Cyril according to which the Spirit is ἐξ ἀμφοῖν. Marcellus had already expressed himself on this point in his own fashion when he wrote (Euseb., de eccl. theol. III. 4): Πῶς γὰρ, εἰ μὴ ἡ μονὰς ἀδιαίρετος οὖσα εἰς τριάδα πλατύνοιτο, ἐγχωρεῖ, αὐτὸν περὶ τοῦ πνεύματος ποτὲ μὲν λέγειν, ὅτι ἐκ τοῦ πατρὸς ἐκπορεύεται, ποτὲ δὲ λέγειν, ἐκεῖνος ἐκ τοῦ ἐμοῦ λήψεται καὶ ἀναγγελεῖ ὑμῖν. In reference to this point the dominant theology found it possible only to distinguish between the immanent processio and the processio in the historical revelation, or to analyse the “παρά” into “ἐκ” (Father) and “διά”. In the Nestorian controversy the use of the proposition that the Spirit proceeds from the Son was formally disallowed. Theodoret, it is true, maintained in opposition to Cyril the view that the Holy Spirit is ἴδιον υἱοῦ, but he declared it to be an impiety to teach that the Holy Spirit is ἐξ υἱοῦ or has δι᾽ υἱοῦ τὴν ὕπαρξιν (Opp. V. p. 47 ed. Schultze). Maximus Confess. further repeated this in the ep. ad Marinum, and so too did Joh. Damasc. It is to be found also in the Confession of Theodore v. Mops. (Hahn, § 139, p. 230). The doctrine of the procession of the Holy Spirit from the Father alone thus clearly shews that in the East the mutual indwelling of the Hypostases was not thought of as complete, and that the Father was regarded as greater than the Son. The spiritual representation of the Trinity was of a different kind in the East and in the West respectively, especially from the time of Augustine onwards. It is accordingly at this point that Photius (867) took up the subject, since he, in searching for a dogmatic disputed point, charged the West with introducing innovations into doctrine, and strengthened this charge by alleging the still graver accusation against the West, of having falsified the most holy Creed of Constantinople by the addition of the “filioque”—“worst of 128evils is the addition to the holy Creed” (κακῶν κάκιστον ἡ ἐν τῷ ἁγίῳ συμβόλῳ προσθήκη). As a matter of fact “filioque”, as a word in the Creed and indeed in the doctrine itself too, was an innovation, but in reality it was merely the correct expression for the original Western conception of the one God in whom the Trinity coheres. This is not the place to describe the endless controversy; for the countless and ever new arguments adduced on both sides, so far as they do not spring from a different way of conceiving of the Trinity and from the determination to hold by what had once been delivered to the Church, are worthless. Nor have the attempts to reconcile the opposing views any interest for the history of dogma, because, as a rule, they were dictated by ecclesiastical policy. It is, however, worthy of note that the Greeks gradually came to be suspicious of the old “διὰ τοῦ υἱοῦ”, “through the Son”, too, but that they otherwise continued to hold by the Cappadocian doctrine of the Trinity.274274Photius, Mystag. (ed. Hergenröther) p. 15: Εἰ δύο αἰτίαι ἐν τῇ θεαρχικῇ καὶ ὑπερουσίῷ τριάδι καθορᾶται, ποῦ τὸ τῆς μοναρχίας πολυύμνητον καὶ θεοπρεπὲς κράτος; The tracing back of the Holy Spirit to the Father and the Son is compared to Manichean dualism. The controversial works are innumerable and those in the Slav languages are also very numerous, dating chiefly from the ninth, eleventh, thirteenth, (Council of Lyons) fifteenth (Synod of Florence) and seventeenth (Cyrillus Lucaris) centuries. In our own day, owing to the Old-Catholic movement and its projects of Union, the question has again been revived. For the carrying out of their plans of Union with Eastern Churches, which have already been in a large measure successful, the Romans have always found it necessary to have controversialists of a conciliatory disposition, e.g., Leo Allatius; while for their condemnation of the obstinate Greeks they have always required fanatical controversialists. The Greeks in order to protect themselves against the threatening encroachment on the part of the Romans, still continue to lay great stress on dogmatic controversy, as is proved by the existence of numerous works and essays, and even by the Greek newspapers which appear in Constantinople. Besides the large works on the Schism by Pichler, and on Photius by Hergenröther, cf. Walch, Hist. controv. de process. s. s. 1751; Theophanes, de process. s. s. 1772; Gass, Symbolik d. griech. K. p. 130 ff.; Kattenbusch, op. cit. I., p. 318 ff.; Vincenzi, op. cit.; Langen, Die trinitar. Lehrdifferenz, 1876; Swete, On the History of the Procession of the Holy Spirit, 1876; Stanley, The Eastern Church, 1864; Kranich, Der h. Basil, i. s. Stellung z. filioque, 1882; Pawlow, Kritische Versuche zur Geschichte der ältesten griechish-russischen Polemik gegen die Lateiner (Russian) 1878; Bach, Dogmengesch. des M.-A. II. p. 748 ff. This together with the dogma of the Incarnation continued to be the Faith of the Church, the mystery κατ᾽ ἐξοχήν. The whole of the material, however, which had 129been taken over from Greek philosophy was turned to account in giving a definite form to this dogma, and was to a certain extent exhausted here. Accordingly in the Trinitarian theology we also meet with what the Church inherited from the downfall of the ancient world of thought, though certainly it presents itself in a very much abridged and stunted form. Owing to the way in which it was employed and owing to its being united with separate Biblical expressions which came to be taken as philosophical-theological conceptions—the τρόποι ὑπάρξεως, modes of existence for example—it doubtless underwent the most astonishing modification. Still the doctrine of the Trinity in the theological treatment given to it, became the vehicle by which the Platonic and Aristotelian philosophy was transmitted to the Slavic and Germanic peoples. It contains a most peculiar blend of the Christian thought of the revelation of God in Jesus and the legacy of ancient philosophy.
In the West, Augustine, following an ancient Western tendency, destroyed the last remains of subordinationism, though just because of this he advanced in the direction of Modalism. According to him in constructing the doctrine of God we should not start from the person of the Father. On the contrary the conception of the Godhead ought from the very first to be personal and Trinitarian, so that the Father is regarded as being conditioned in His existence by the Son in the same way as the Son is by the Father. Augustine wishes the unity of the three persons to be so conceived of that the three are equal to each one singly, and the triple personality is understood as existing within the absolute simplicity of God. The differences or characteristic notes of the three persons are still to hold good when the Godhead is so conceived of; but they appear merely as relations in the one Godhead, and their characteristics are done away when it is considered that in connection with the act of production or procession Son and Spirit are to be regarded as active agents. Augustine searched for analogies to the threefoldness which is found in the one divine essence, in creation, in the conceptions of basis and substance, form and idea, persistence, and in the human spirit in object, subjective picture of the object, intention of perception—mens ipsa, notitia 130mentis, amor—memoria, intelligentia, voluntas. The doctrine in its entirety is the effort of a man whose mind was as sceptical as it was intellectually powerful, but who revelled in the incomprehensible, who had laid hold of a new thought, but who both as sceptic and as theosophist felt himself bound to tradition, and who for this reason was for his punishment driven about between the poles of a docta ignorantia and a knowledge which was replete with contradictions. This speculation, which attempts to construe the most immanent of immanent Trinities and to sublimate the Trinity into a unity, just because it does this, discards everything in the way of a basis in historical religion and loses itself in paradoxical distinctions and speculations, while at the same time it is not able to give clear expression to its new and valuable thought. The great work of Augustine, “De Trinitate”, can scarcely be said to have promoted piety anywhere or at any time. It, however, became the high-school not only for the technicological culture of the understanding, but also for the metaphysics of the Middle-Ages. The realistic scholasticism of the Middle-Ages is not conceivable apart from this work, because it itself already contains Scholasticism.275275The larger histories of dogma go very fully into Augustine’s doctrine of the Trinity. For the history of dogma, however, it is sufficient to get a knowledge of the main outlines of this doctrine. The chief source is the great work “de trinitate”, the letters Nos. 11 and 120 are specially instructive; the former because, written immediately after Augustine’s conversion, it nevertheless already contains his fundamental thought, although still in a simple form and accompanied by a confidence in the power of sanctified reason to understand the mystery; letter 120, because in a proportionately brief form it sets forth the doctrine in its matured shape. (The Quaternity is rejected in c. 7, 13.) Besides this, attention should be given to lib. XI. 10 de civit. dei, amongst other passages; cf. the monographs by Bindemann and Dorner jun., and also Gangauf, Augustin’s specul. Lehre v. Gott., 1865. According to Augustine it is not the divine substance or the Father that is the monarchical principle, but, on the contrary, the Trinity itself is the one God (unus deus est ipse trinitas, pater et filius et spiritus s. est unus deus; see de trin. V. 9, c. serm. Arian. c. 4). Consequently the equality and unity are conceived of by him in a much stricter fashion than by the Cappadocians. He is not afraid of the paradox that two persons are equal to three, and again that one is equal to three (VII. 11, VI. 10); for “singula sunt in singulis et omnia in singulis et singula in omnibus et omnia in omnibus et unum omnia.” Accordingly the Son too takes an active part in His own sending (II. 9: “a patre et filio missus est idem filius, quia verbum patris est ipse filius”); the immanent function of the persons as well as their economic function are never to be thought of as separated, for “sunt semper unicem, neuter solus” (VI. 7); it is therefore true that the Trinity—in the O. T.—has also been seen (II.), a fact which the Greeks denied, and that the unity is actually a numerical one. It is accordingly also self-evident that the equality is a perfect one; the Father in all His acts is no less dependent on the Son than the Son is on Him (c. serm. Arian. 3: 1. C. 4 is therefore striking: “solus pater non legitur missus, quoniam solus non habet auctorem, a quo genitus sit vel a quo procedat”); the special qualities do not establish anything in the way of superiority or inferiority. Nor are the persons to be conceived of as independent substances or as accidents, but as relations, in which the inner life of the Godhead is present (V. 4, VII. 11, VI. 60, V. 5: “in deo nihil quidem secundum accidens dicitur, quia nihil in eo mutabile est; nec tamen omne quod dicitur, secundum substantiam dicitur. Dicitur enim ad aliquid, sicut pater ad filium et filius ad patrem, quod non est accidens, quia et ille semper pater et ille semper filius” etc. V. 6: amplification of the “relative”, see also ep. 233). We can see that Augustine only gets beyond Modalism by the mere assertion that he does not wish to be a Modalist, and by the aid of ingenious distinctions between different ideas. His strength and the significance of his book consist in the attempts he makes to base the doctrine of the Trinity on analogies, together with these distinctions in thought. In connection with these Augustine has given us some extraordinarily acute and valuable discussions on psychology, the theory of knowledge, and metaphysics, which supplied the subsequent centuries with philosophical education. The Scholastics made use of these investigations not only in connection with the doctrine of the Trinity, in discussing which they do not get beyond Modalism—but also in connection with the conception of God in itself and theology generally. It is impossible, however, to understand the labyrinths of the work “de trinitate”, on which Augustine was occupied for fifteen years, if we do not keep the fact in view that the great thinker has attempted to express in his formula for the Trinity a thought which this formula not only does not contain, but, on the contrary, implicitly disowns—namely, that the Godhead is personal and is consequently one person, that θεότης and Θεός mean the same thing. Obliged to believe in “the three persons in the one essence” by tradition, but obliged also by his Christian experience to believe in the single personality of God (see the Confessions), spite of the value which he too puts upon the “Essence” this situation could only result in a contradiction. Had Augustine been able to make a fresh start in putting the Christian religion into a doctrinal system, he would have been the last to have thought of the Greek formula. One who could write (V. 9) “dictum est ‘tres personæ’ non ut illud diceretur, sed ne taceretur,” would not have discovered the three persons in the one substance! But though thus involved in contradiction this great mind was nevertheless able to instruct posterity in a hundred ways, for Augustine employed the whole resources of his philosophy in the endeavour to overcome the contradiction which could not be overcome. It is moreover, of importance that his acquaintance with the Cappadocian theology was of such a very superficial kind. When (V. 9) he translates the formula, μίαν οὐσίαν τρεῖς ὑποστάσεις, by “una essentia tres substantiæ” it is evident that he had not entered into the spirit or grasped the point of view of that theology. The addition, however, “sed quia nostra loquendi consuetudo iam obtinuit, ut hoc intelligatur cum dicimus essentiam, quod intellegitur cum dicimus substantiam, non audemus dicere: unam essentiam tres substantias, sed unam essentiam vel substantiam, tres autem personas, quemadmodum multi Latini ista tractantes et digni auctoritate dixerunt, cum alium modum aptiorem non invenirent, quo enuntiarent verbis quod sine verbis intellegebant,” proves that spite of the agreement come to with the East, the West was not yet conscious of possessing a common terminology. The studies of Reuter (Ztschr. f. K. G. V., p. 375 ff., VI. p. 155 ff.) have thrown light on Augustine’s relation to the Trinitarian conclusions of the East. We may assent to his thesis (p. 191) “In his discussion of the doctrine of the Trinity Augustine seldom expressly falls back on the formulæ of the Nicene Creed. His doctrine is not anti-Nicene, but neither is it for the most part Nicene in its wording. He made very little use of the discussions of Greek or even of Latin authors.” The Nicene Creed is not once mentioned in the work “de trinitate”. We ought not in fact to measure the acquaintance which the West had with the theological development in the East by the careful attention given to it by the Roman bishops. Reuter is right in saying (p. 383 f.) that it is not so much the Nicene Creed or indeed any formula whatever which Augustine takes for granted as expressing the Church doctrine of the Trinity, but rather a fixed series of fundamental thoughts. The West was never so deeply impressed by the Nicene Creed as the East had been. In the writings of Tertullian, Novatian, Dionysius of Rome amongst others, it possessed the “series of fundamental thoughts” which proved sufficient and in which was still contained a trace of that ἕν πρόσωπον maintained by Calixt. (Philos. IX. 12) and the presence of which is still manifested in the “non ut illud diceretur [to wit, ‘tres personæ’]” of Augustine. Just for this very reason the West did not require the Nicene Creed, or required it only when it came to close quarters with Arianism, as we may gather from what is said by Ambrose. We have finally to refer to an important element in the position of Augustine in reference to the doctrine of the Trinity. Augustine was positively and negatively influenced by Neo-Platonism as represented by Plotinus and Porphyry. Negatively, in so far as he was there confronted with a doctrine of the Trinity, but with one which was based on a descending series of emanations; positively, in so far as he took over from Plotinus the thought of the simplicity of God and attempted actually to make use of it. To Augustine as a philosopher the construction of a doctrine of the Trinity was already a matter of course. All the more was it necessary for him to strive to construct a peculiarly Christian doctrine of the Trinity, and, because of the idea of simplicity which could no longer be referred to the Father alone, to bring the other two persons into unity with the Father. With the philosophical postulate of the simplicity of God was blended the religious postulate of the personality of God, a point regarding which indeed Augustine never got to have theoretically clear views. Here accordingly the other two “persons” had to be fused, and in this way originated the logical work of art represented by his doctrine of the Trinity, which no one had taught him and which appeared even to himself to be so difficult that he did not count on its being understood by outsiders (Reuter, p. 384). Prudentius (see, e.g., Cath. XI. 13 sq.) has a very ancient doctrine of the Trinity, which partly recalls that of Tertullian and partly that of Marcellus.131
It was for Augustine a self-evident truth that the Holy Spirit proceeds also from the Son, and he expressly maintained 132this.276276The Father Himself is only relatively principium, the Son and the Holy Spirit are also to be termed principium; but they form together one principium (V. 13). The statement accordingly holds good: “fatendum est, patrem et filium principium esse spiritus sancti, non duo principia.” It is, however, worthy of note that Augustine in this very place (V. 14) rejects the view that the Son was born of the Holy Spirit also. In doing this he merely gave expression to the view which was implicitly contained in the ancient Western doctrine of the 133Trinity277277It seems to have appeared again in the teaching of Priscillian as avowed Modalism; see the Anathemas of the Spanish Synod of 447 in Hefele, op. cit. II., p. 307 f., and Leo I., ep. ad Turibium. inasmuch as the procession of the Spirit from Father and Son implied in it could never be regarded as the procession from two First Principles. The first mention of the doctrine after Augustine is in the Confession of Faith of a Synod of Toledo which probably met in 447, hardly in 400, “paracletus a patre filioque procedens” (Hahn, § 97) and in the words of Leo I. (ep. ad Turib. c. 1): “de utroque processit”; see further the so-called Athanasian Creed and the Confession of the Synod of Toledo in the year 589 (Reccared’s Confession, Hahn, § 106). It was at this Synod that the “filioque” was first put into the text of the Creed of Constantinople, which had probably then or shortly before first reached Spain. We have no further information regarding the reception it met with;278278See the Acts of the Council in Mansi IX., pp. 977-1010, Gams, K. Gesch. Spaniens II. 2, p. 6 ff., Hefele III., p. 48 ff. Rösler (Prudentius, p. 362 ff.) regards the Confession in question as being that of the Council of 400. it is likely that in opposition to the West Gothic Arianism there was a desire to give expression to the doctrine of the equality of Father and Son. From Spain the addition reached the Carlovingian Frankish Empire,279279The first controversy, (with the Easterns,) arose at the Council of Gentilly in the year 767. Already in the libri Carolini the East is censured for not accepting the filioque. and already in the first decades of the ninth century it had been there embodied in the official form of the Creed—by the order of Charles the Great. In Rome the Augustinian doctrine of the Holy Spirit had indeed been long ago sanctioned, but as late as the beginning of the ninth century the Creed as accepted there was still without that addition, as the table constructed by Leo III. and his answer to the Frankish ambassadors in the year 809 prove. Soon after this, however,—when and under what circumstances it is impossible to say—it was adopted into the Creed in Rome too; see the ordo Romanus de div. off. (Max Bibl. Patr. XIII., 134p. 677a), which perhaps belongs to the second half of the ninth century, and the controversy with Photius.280280See Abelard, Sic et Non IV., p. 26 sq. ed. Cousin, and the works cited above; in addition Köllner, Symbolik I., p. 1 f., p. 28 ff.
So far as popular Christian thought is concerned, the Cappadocian manner of formulating the doctrine exercised in the end a more decisive influence even in the West than the Augustinian view which dissolves the persons into conceptions and leaves little room for the play of ordinary or pictorial thought. But for the Church and for Science281281See Erigena’s doctrine of the Trinity, which is entirely drawn from Augustine, de div. nat. I. 62, II. 32, 35, homil. in prolog. ev. sec. Joann. Augustine’s view came to be authoritative. What contributed most to this result was the fact that it was embodied as the doctrine of Athanasius in a formula which came to have the authority of a universal and binding Confession of Faith. It is extremely probable that the so-called Athanasian Creed, so far as the first half of it is concerned, is a Gallican Rule of Faith explanatory of the Creed of Nicæa. As such it was from the fifth century onwards, by means of the theology of Augustine and Vincentius of Lerinum, gradually made into a course of instruction for the clergy, i.e., the monks, suitable for being committed to memory. As a regula fidei meant to explain the Nicene Creed it was called “fides catholica” or “fides Athanasii”, though it had other names also, and perhaps as early as 500 it began with the words “Quicunque vult salvus esse.” It is probable that in the course of the sixth century it essentially received its present technical form in Southern Gaul where the West-Gothic Spanish Arianism still continued to provoke opposition. In the middle of the sixth century it, or at least a recension very similar to it, was already current as the authoritative course of instruction for the clergy in Southern Gaul, and was together with the Psalms learned by heart. It got into the decisions of single Councils from the Psalm-books and breviaries of the monks and clergy, in so far as the practice had here begun of appealing to single statements in this rule of faith. Starting from here it gradually came to be the Confession of the Frankish Church in the eighth and ninth centuries. It was perhaps then that the second Christological half was added, the origin of which is completely 135wrapped in obscurity; it was of course put together before the ninth century. The Frankish Church by its relations with Rome was the means of communicating the Creed as the Confession of Athanasius to the entire Western Church during the period from the ninth to the eleventh centuries. As Rome and—through Rome—the West finally received the Gallico-Frankish form of the so-called Apostles’ Creed and gave up the primitive Apostles’ Creed, so too Rome adopted as a second Creed the Gallico-Frankish statement of the Augustinian doctrine of the Trinity. This, at any rate, is the relatively most probable view that can be taken of the obscure history of the origin and reception of the so-called Athanasian Creed.282282For the older works on the Athanasian Creed which begin with the disquisition of Voss (1642), see Köllner, Symbolik I., p. 53 ff. In more recent times, besides Caspari, the English, who use the Creed at divine service and nevertheless have come to feel it to be inconvenient, have published valuable discussions on it; see Ffoulkes The Athan. Creed, 1871; Swainson, The Nicene and Apost. Creeds, etc., 1875; Ommaney, Early History of the Athan. Creed, 1875; two prize-essays by Peabody and Courtney Stanhope Kenny, 1876, which are known to me only from the Jena Lit. Ztg., 1877, No. 21. In addition the discussions on the Utrecht Psalter by Hardy (1874), Aratz (1874), and Springer (1880). It is since the non-Athanasian origin of the Creed has been established beyond doubt both on internal and external grounds, that positive work has begun to be done, and this has not yet been brought to a conclusion. The question as to how far its transmission in writing takes us back has already been the subject of important controversies. It is doubtful if the manuscript takes us back as far as the time of Charles the Great or Charles the Bald. But the question of origin cannot be decided by the settlement of this point. Swainson gives 850 as the date of its origin—amongst the Neustrian clergy—and sees in it a piece of intentional deception. Ffoulkes endeavours to prove that it originated at the end of the eighth century and is also inclined to believe there was deception in the matter; Caspari suggests the sixth century; others go as far back as the fifth, beyond the middle of which, at any rate, we cannot, for internal reasons, go. The question of origin is a complicated one since the Rule of Faith originated by stages and only gradually came to he authoritative. There is no reason for thinking of deception. What I have given in the text is based on independent studies, but to describe these at length would take us too far. The most certain traces seem to me to point to Southern Gaul, and North Africa may also have had something to do with it. The Athanasian Creed does not belong to the same category as the pseudo-Isidorian Decretals as Swainson holds; nor was it set up by Charles the Great as a sharp boundary line between East and West, which is the view of Ffoulkes; on the contrary, it was a syllabus of instruction based on the doctrine of Athanasius, which in uncritical times was turned into a creed of Athanasius. The necessity for a detailed creed of this kind was coincident with the desire to possess a compendium of the sacred paradoxes of Augustine and at the same time a sharp weapon against the Trinitarian, i.e., Arian, errors which had for so long haunted the West. The three 136so-called ecumenical Creeds are consequently all “apocryphal.” The Apostles’ Creed did not originate with the Apostles, though so far as its basis is concerned, it belongs to the post-Apostolic age; the Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed originated neither in Nicæa nor in Constantinople, but in Jerusalem or Cyprus, though it got its main contents from Nicæa; the Athanasian Creed is not the work of Athanasius. Nor are they ecumenical, on the contrary it is at most the Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed which can be so termed283283The Armenian Church possesses a Creed which is closely akin to the Creed of Constantinople, but not identical with it. since the East knew nothing of the other two.
The doctrine of the Trinity in the Athanasian Creed is strictly Augustinian, and yet it has certain traits which are not to be traced either to Augustine or to Vincentius. No other Creed went so far in the development of the doctrine of the Trinity as an article of faith necessary to salvation, as this one. This can be explained only by the fact of its having originated in mediæval times. The Franks regarded the Faith handed down to them by the ancient Church simply as a legal statute, and accordingly only required faith in the Faith, obedience, that is, fides implicita therefore, since they did not yet possess what was required for a religious or philosophical appropriation of the system of belief. Under the form of fides implicita, however, i.e., a faith of obedience, the most developed theology can be looked for from every one. In the Athanasian Creed as a Creed we have the transformation of the doctrine of the Trinity as an article of Faith to be inwardly appropriated, into an ecclesiastical legal statute on the observance of which salvation depends.284284The Creed is in Hahn, § 81. Careful attention has been bestowed on the separate statements by those who have investigated the subject, and their origin has been ascertained. The verses 9-12 are not to be directly traced to Augustine. Four times over in the Creed salvation is made dependent on carefully defined belief. This is not like Augustine; see ep. 169. 4. He did not intend his amplifications of Trinitarian doctrine to be taken as Church doctrine (de trin. I. 2). The most recent work on the Creed is in Lumby’s History of the Creeds, third ed., 1887. Lumby comes to the conclusion based on a very careful examination of the MSS., and tradition, that the Creed in its present shape is not older than the time of Charles the Bald.137
For Athanasius the fundamental religious thought was the “Ὁμοούσιος”, and just because of this he could not treat it technically. For the Cappadocians the “Ὁμοούσιος” and the doctrine of the Trinity came to be the sum of theological knowledge. For the Westerns after Augustine these doctrines became a sacred legal statute, to which, above all, obedience must be rendered. This is the course of things which is constantly repeated in the history of religion. Men pass from the religious thought to the philosophical and theological doctrinal proposition, and from the doctrinal proposition which requires knowledge to the legal proposition which demands obedience, or to the sacred relic the common veneration for which constitutes a bond of union for the community, whether it be that of the nation, the state, or the Church. And thus the process of formulating comes to have an ever-increasing importance, and the Confession with the mouth becomes the foundation of the Church. But in reference to this the Valentinian Herakleon had as early as the second century correctly remarked:—
“There is an agreement in faith and life on the one hand and in word on the other; the agreement in word is also an agreement based on authorities which many hold to be the only agreement, though this is not a sound opinion; for hypocrites can subscribe to this kind of agreement.” (Ὁμολογίαν εἶναι τὴν μὲν ἐν τῇ πίστει καὶ πολιτείᾳ, τὴν δὲ ἐν φωνῇ· ἡ μὲν οὖν ἐν φωνῇ ὁμολογία καὶ ἐπὶ τῶν ἐξουσιῶν γίνεται, ἣν μόνην ὁμολογίαν ἡγοῦνται εἶναι οἱ πολλοί, οὐχ ὑγιῶς· δόνανται δὲ ταύτην τὴν ὁμολογίαν καὶ οἱ ὑποκριταὶ ὁμολογεῖν.)138
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