March 25, 2011

Notions and Relations

Apart from Sunday Mass, the highlight of my week is the meeting of the medieval trinitarian theology seminar that I have with professor Coolman and four doctoral students from the theology department. The two hours go by so fast.

We've arrived at a kind of notional pause in the course, having spent three weeks with Bonaventure before we begin Thomas next week. Thinking about this on the way home last night, I realized that the course is having both welcome and challenging fruit for me.

On the positive side, I am more convinced than ever that the Trinity is an eminently reasonable doctrine of God. What's more, and to be honest, for the first time I am thoroughly convinced not only of the reasonableness of the filioque, but that it is somehow necessary for an intelligible, robust, and durable account of God.

On the more challenging side, I now suffer with a heightened awareness of problems. I'm starting to see shadings into modalism and subordinationism all the time when the Trinity is mentioned in casual speech or even in homilies. Sometimes I even worry about these things in what I read in the great doctors.

God the Father of Heaven, Have mercy on us.
God the Son, Redeemer of the world, Have mercy on us.
God the Holy Spirit, Have mercy on us.
Holy Trinity, one God, Have mercy on us.


ben in denver said...

Please tell us more about the filioque. I'm especially intereseted in why it might be necessary for a durable account of God.

Brother Charles said...

Ben: There's a lot to this, and I had hardly do it justice here. But in very inadequate and general outline, I would say that if the Father does not communicate his generativity to the Son, the procession of the Son is incomplete and not a perfect Image. Also, if the Son does not participate in the spiration of the Spirit, then I don't see how the Spirit is distinguished from the Son.