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lute, and that what is begotten or what proceeds, is, in distinction from this, something relative; yet we are not obliged to give to this terminology any other sense, than we do when we speak of God in his absolute independence, and in his relation to the world, or when we distinguish the absolute and relative attributes of God, by which we do not imply that the latter conflict with the idea that God is an unconditional and infinite being. What Keckermann says1 of the notion of the infinite, may be perfectly applied to the notion of the absolute in this connection. He cites the objection: "Person, in God, is either finite or infinite; if finite, then it is not God; if infinite, then there are three infinites, because three persons;" and to this he replies: "Person is to be considered in a twofold way; 1. In respect to the essence, and so it is infinite but is not triple; 2. In respect to the relation, or mode of existence, and so is neither finite nor infinite, because finitude and infinitude are properties of an entity or thing; but a person, so far as person, that is in respect to the mode of its existence, is not an entity, but the mode of an entity; modes, however, are neither finite nor infinite."
It is also, if not against the letter, yet contrary to the sense of the orthodox doctrine, to exhibit the difference in the relation of the Father and the Son, to the immanent act of generation, or the relation of both these and the Holy Spirit, to the act of procession, as a relation of ability on the one side, and inability on the other, of capacity and incapacity. But when we say that the person, the I, is both the subject and the object of its own thinking and willing, shall we say that this relation implies, that in the one, the I as subject, there is a power, which is wanting in the other, the I as object? Equally unjust would it be, even if we call the relation of the Persons a relation of dependence, (the orthodox doctrine prefers to call it a relation of communication, and it is at any rate wholly different from that relation of dependence in which the world stands to God,) to describe it as a partial or one-sided relation, in which the Son alone is dependent upon the Father, and to assert that there is no relation of the Father to the Son which can be brought as an equipoise.2 Even according to the letter of the doctrine of the church we should be
created, and the latter, that which is not begotten or produced. The three Persons of the Trinity are ἀγένητοι; the Father only is ἀγέννητος. Vide, his ἔκδοσις, 1, 9.
1 Syst. theol. L. I. p. 81.
2 Conf. Schleiermacher's Glaubenslehre, Th. II. S. 582 of the second edition; 702 of the first.
Relations no Proof of Inequality.
obliged to say, that just as little as the Son can be conceived of, as Son, without the Father, just so little can the Father be conceived of, as Father, without the Son; the paternity and the sonship, the spiratio activa and the processio presuppose each other. If we concede to the speculative view, the value only of a mere illustration, we shall still find it conceivable, that just as we become self-conscious persons only as we view ourselves objectively as well as subjectively (to speak with Leibnitz, as the soul from being merely a passively percipient monad, comes to a clear apprehension); so too in God, the subsistence of the eternal omnipotence, wisdom and love, under the clearly defined relations of generation and procession, is a more perfect view of the Godhead than when we conceive of it as without any such relations, having as its only characteristic that it is unbegotten.2
7. Character hypostaticus. (2) Notae externae.
Under the external characteristics or notes of the three Persons, we comprise those works, by which they are revealed to the
1 This is the meaning of Aquinas when he says: Quendam in divinis natu rae ordinem esse, secundum quod ibi quoddam originis principium sit absque prioritate. (P. I. qu. 42. art. 3.) That De Wette unjustly calls this a contradictio in adjecto, is clear from the explanation which Aquinas himself gives of it (in II.): In rebus creatis, etiam cum id, quod est a principio, sit suo principio coaevum secundum durationem, tamen principium est prius secundum naturam et intellectum, si consideretur id quod est principium; sed si considerentur ipsae relationes causae et causati, et principii et principiati, manifestum est quod relativa sunt simul natura et intellectu, in quantum unum est in definitione alterius. Sed in divinis ipsae relationes sunt subsistentes personae in una natura; unde neque ex parte naturae neque ex parte relationum una persona protest esse prior alia, neque etiam secundum naturam et intellectum. The Father, nevertheless, always remains the one, a quo procedit Filius, and the Son the one, qui procedit a Patre: thence is the Father principium originis, although not prius originato or principiato suo.
2 Schleiermacher, (Glaubensl. § 171, 5 of the 2d ed.) finds an evidence that this doctrine is treated as though there were an inequality in the three Persons, in the fact, that it is found necessary to prove in so special a manner that the divine attributes and works belong to the Son and the Spirit, while it is taken for granted the Father has all of them. But the aim of these proofs is not to show that the Son and Spirit, considered as the second and third Persons in the Godhead, have these attributes; but to show that he who has redeemed us, and the Spirit who sanctifies us are to be considered not as created but as divine, because divine attributes and works are ascribed to them. And as to the Father himself, such proof lies in all the arguments by which we show that the existence of the world supposes a creator of infinite power, wisdom and love.
world (opera ad extra). The most prominent among them are, the work of creation, which, in accordance with the apostolic creed, together with preservation and providence, is ascribed to the Father; the work of redemption, whose centre is the incarnation, and which is ascribed to the Son; the work of sanctification, which is attributed to the Holy Ghost, and of which we may regard the indwelling of God in believers, that began at the first Christian Pentecost, as the central point. For the religious consciousness, this aspect of the Trinity is the most important; De Wette justly calls it the true basis of the doctrine; yet it is usu ally kept very much in the back-ground in dogmatical treatises. This disregard of it is to be explained, not only from the position which is almost universally assigned to our doctrine in systems of theology; but also from certain special difficulties which we encounter in respect to these external notes themselves, when we reflect upon them in connection with other doctrines.
For, the Holy Scriptures do not ascribe creation to the Father only, nor redemption and sanctification to the Son or Spirit alone. It is also said of the Son, that by him all things were created (Col. 1: 16), and that he upholds all things by his powerful word (Heb. 1:3); the name of Saviour (corng) by which we are accustomed to reverence Christ, is also given to the Father (1 Tim. 1: 1. 2: 3. 4:10. Tit. 1: 3. 3: 4); the Son himself prays to the Father that he would sanctify his disciples (John 17: 17). In like manner, also, certain individual acts comprised in the total work of redemption and sanctification are ascribed, now to one, and now to another of the divine persons; e. g. it is usually said that the Father raised up Jesus from the dead (Acts 3: 15); but Christ, also, declares that he has power to lay down his life and to take it again (John 10: 18); it is God the Father who judgeth without respect of persons (1 Pet. 1: 17); and yet the judgment is committed to the Son (John 5: 22). When those gifts, offices and powers are spoken of, by which the church is made the temple of the indwelling Spirit (1 Cor. 3: 16); not only is the Holy Spirit named as the author of them, but one Lord and one God are also mentioned, through whom, whatever is demanded for the common good, is imparted to every member (1 Cor. 12: 4—7). In short, there seems to be no divine work from which any one person of the Godhead can be excluded.
And in fact it could not be otherwise if the doctrinal principles, above developed, are correct. For the divine essence, with all the absolute and relative attributes belonging to the idea of it, is not
1 Conf. Bib. Sacra, Aug. 1846, p. 515, note 1.
Acts of God indivisible.
merely common to the three Persons, but it is one and the same in them all. And if we are to hold fast to this unity, wherever the opposition of the relations inseparably connected with the notions of generation and procession, does not demand a distinguishing of the Persons (ubi non obviat relationis oppositio); then, too, we must also conceive of all action of God in and upon the world as one and indivisible,' and must concede the truth of the canon of Augustin, which is received by all our Lutheran theologians, as well as by the Scholastics-opera Dei ad extra indivisa esse. But if this be so, how can we, then, attribute individual opera ad extra to the individual persons, and make such works a means of distinguishing them?
There are two grounds on which this may be vindicated. In the first place it must be remarked, that as the oneness of essence and being does not exclude a difference in the order and mode of subsistence (ordo et modus subsistendi), so the unity of action does not exclude a corresponding difference in the order and mode in which the actions may be referred to individual persons (that is in the ordo et modus agendi). Indeed, since it is certain that in God being and action cannot be separated, we should rather say that those very relations under which we represent the being of God (as an essence existing through, from and in itself), would also necessarily be mirrored in the divine manifestations. But from this it follows, in the second place, that what, considered in itself, is common to all the persons, may likewise be ascribed to a single one of them, not merely so far as this one is a participant in all the attributes of the divine nature, but also because this action has a closer connection with that mode of subsistence (rgóaos vnúεws) which we ascribe to this particular person, either in the very notion of it, or because it is exhibited in a manifestation in which we recognize a revelation of just this person. Hence, the above-mentioned canon-opera Dei ad extra tribus personis communia esse, is further defined by the addition-salvo tamen earum ordine et discrimine. This definition has a two-fold sense. It means, that when an action is attributed to the Father, to the Son, or to the Holy Spirit, the Father is to be considered as acting (as well as subsisting) from or of himself, the Son from the Father, and the Holy Spirit from the Father and the Son. It also
In respect to the stress which even the Fathers of the Church laid upon this unity of the divine ¿vépyɛia, may be compared the passages cited and explained by Petarius, Theologicor. Dogm. de Trin. L. IV. cp. XV. § 1—8.
Quenst. P. 1. cp. IX. Sect. I. thes. 21, note 3; "Because the Father has
means, that when we speak of an operation of God upon the world, this can or must be attributed not merely to God in a general way, but also to the Father, Son and Spirit; and it may be thus referred, either attributive, per appropriationem, or terminative.1
The reference by appropriation (per appropriationem) is made, when attributes which are essential to the divine nature are assigned to one of the persons of the Godhead, or when one of these persons reveals himself by attributes of the divine nature. This is especially the case when such an attribute stands in closer connection with the hypostatic character of the person; which is seen in this, that, although we cannot deny it to any one of the persons, we yet find it to be especially appropriate to the one or the other; (this may be called appropriation in the more limited sense, while the other cases may be designated by the more general word, attributio). Thus, for example, power, wisdom and love are attributes of the divine nature in general; but, per appropriationem, power is assigned to the Father, wisdom to the Son, and
his essence from himself, he therefore acts from himself; the Son acts and works from the Father, and the Holy Spirit from both." Keckermann Syst. I. IV. p. 71: "As is the order of existence, so is the order of action in the persons of the sacred Trinity; the Father acts from himself, the Son from the Father, the Holy Spirit from both."-The most of the theologians for ages, find this relation expressed in the passage John 5: 19. The unity of action is seen in the words, ἃ ἂν ἐκεῖνος (ὁ πατὴρ) ποιῇ, ταῦτα καὶ ὁ υἱὸς ὁμοίως ποιεῖ ; ταῦτα, says Quenstedt, not by imitating the like, but by effecting the same things at the same time; for these words imply an identity, not an imitation and parity in the mode of action. The order of action is seen in the words: où dívarai ó vide ποιεῖν ἀφ' ἑαυτοῦ οὐδὲν, ἐὰν μή τι βλέπῃ τὸν πατέρα ποιοῦντα; that is, says Quenstedt, the Son does not do these things from himself as does the Father, since he is not from himself but from the Father, from whom as he has his essence, so also his omnipotence;-but the Son sees what the Father does, not after the operation, but because he is the wisdom of the Father by means of which the works are done. In like manner, in John 16: 13-15, it is said of the Holy Ghost, that he does not speak from himself (ảø' ¿avrov), but that what he announces to the apostles he takes from that which belongs at once to Christ and the Father.
1 These expressions are not usually so carefully distinguished as they are here and in what follows; yet it might easily be shown that there is a ground for these distinctions, not only in the thing itself but also in the doctrinal usus loquendi.
2 Aquinas Summ. I. qu. 39. art. 7; "The manifestation of the persons by means of essential attributes is called appropriation." Gerhard in loc. de Trin. § 53: "Certain essential attributes are appropriated to each person by ecclesiastical writers, although essential attributes, on account of the identity of essence, are common to the three persons."