Re: Nicene Creed

From: george murphy (
Date: Wed Jun 18 2003 - 16:51:25 EDT

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    bivalve wrote:

    > Although several posts have alluded to it, it may help to state exactly what the difference is between eastern (Orthodox) and western (Roman Catholic/Protestant) versions.
    > Originally, the Spirit was described as proceeding from the Father. In response to a particular heresy, the western churches changed this to proceeding from the Father and the Son. However, this was done without a formal church council and with no input from the Orthodox church. Thus, to the Orthodox the western version is improperly ammended, whereas the western churches saw the Orthodox version as omitting an important phrase.
    > As far as I know, there is no objection to the concept that the Spirit proceeds from the Son. Conversely, the original does not say He does not proceed fom the Son. Thus, I do not think there is much theological import to the choice of version.

            Most Orthodox theologians would not agree that "there is no objection to the concept that the Spirit proceeds from the Son." In Orthodox theology it is important to maintain that there is only one /arche/ (origin, first cause - in an ontological rather than temporal sense) in the Trinity, that the Son & Spirit both have their source in the Father.
            One reason for the introduction of the phrase "and the Son" in the creed in the West was probably to provide an additional defence against Arianism, for the Son could be a source of the Spirit only if the Son were fully divine. This is also consistent with Augustine's idea of the Spirit as the "bond of love" between Father and Son. But for the East this meant two sources of being in the Trinity, which was inadmissible. The
    Orthodox also argue that the filioque has resulted in an effective limitation of the work of the Spirit to the church, thus ignoring the cosmic aspect of the Spirit's activity.
            One influential book by a modern Orthodox theologian which deals with this (though not as its sole concern) is John Zizioulas' _Being as Communion_. A couple of modern treatments of the issue by western theologians are Ted Peters, _God as Trinity_, pp.63-66 and Juergen Moltmann, _The Trinity and the Kingdom_, pp.178-187.


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