Elements Of The Patristic Teaching On Relation

Relation was brought into Trinitarian theology right at the start of the Arian crisis. Before the Council of Nicaea, in his Profession of Faith to Alexander of 4 For instance, the Libellus defide Trinitatis (a compilation of Eastern patristic commentaries, that St Thomas examined at the request of Pope Urban IV) presented the thought of Gregory Nazianzus like this 'The Father is called ''unbegotten'' and Father not because of his essence, but in a relative way because of his property of...

The Being Of Divine Relations

The existence of real relations having been laid out, it remains to be shown that the relations do not divide the divine essence. The theory of relations seeks to account for the fact that Trinitarian faith is monotheist. Along 50 ST I, q. 28, a. 1. In his questions De potentia, Thomas mentions the three factors which are required for two things to have a mutual 'order' these things must really exist (ens), they have to be distinct from each other (distinctum), and they must be 'orderable'...

B The Essence and the Distinction of Persons the Common and the Proper

The second distinction structuring the treatise on God in the Summa Theo-logiae touches specifically on Trinitarian doctrine. It is about 'that which concerns the divine essence' and 'that which concerns the distinction of persons'. It is not, as some have said, about dividing the treatise into De Deo Uno and De Deo Trino in the style of certain neo-scholastic theology manuals.33 Still less is it a matter of a division between a philosophical approach to God and a theological one, as if the...

The Cycle Of The Trinitarian Processions

In the Summa Theologiae, after having set out the procession of the Word and Love, St Thomas concludes his investigation of the processions by showing that no other procession takes place in God (q. 27, a. 5). This last stage could seem odd. Since, effectively, it is solely by faith that we hold the generation of the Son and the procession of the Spirit, one could ask why anything should be added to this. The final article actually supplies a synthesis, which successfully authenticates the...

The Theological Terminology Of Plurality

Following upon these elucidations, St Thomas examines the name which Christians give to God Trinity. The discussion of this term sometimes takes up a very large place in the scholastic Trinitarian treatises.20 The mid-thirteenth-century authors generally recognize that this is a relative name.21 Thomas confines himself to a rapid exposition, emphasizing both the plurality of the persons (numerically three) and their essential unity. The word Trinityrefers to 'the determinate number of persons'....

Transcendental Multiplicity

The study of the plurality of persons has made us touch on the question of 'number' in God. We have already hinted at this in relation to the word Trinity. Trinitarian faith compels us to acknowledge 'multiplicity' no 'multiple', no real Trinity. But what is this plurality to do with The problem arose very early, and with an acerbic punch, in the very first Trinitarian debates within scholastic theology. One of Abelard's first masters, Roscelin de Compiegne, aroused a heated debate by refusing...

Personal Plurality In The Triune

The first harvest yielded by the theory of subsistent relations is the disclosure of an authentic plurality and alterity within the Triune God. St Thomas begins by exhibiting the plurality of persons professed by Christian faith. The theme of plurality within unity has nothing to do with any kind of mathematical hypothesizing or hermetic speculation on the meaning of numbers. Thomas explains it with the utmost clarity in his Questions De potentia the plurality of persons in God is an article of...

Person And Analogy

According to Boethius' precise definition of its features, the person signifies 'that which is most perfect perfectissimum in all of nature' and thus the name person is eminently applicable to God.i7 Like most other theologians,is Thomas recognizes that the name person is a term which is applied analogously, in diverse modalities, to human beings, to angels, and to God. As with all analogous attribution, one has to be aware of the fact that one is in the presence of a perfection which God...

The Problems Of Arianism And Of Sabellianism

Trinitarian theology is looking for an analogy which gives due respect to its subject, and which enables it to bring an authentic procession within God to light. Refining on what the analogy must do, St Thomas adds that it must enable one to grasp an 'immanent procession'. The starting-point of the Trinitarian treatise is the idea of 'immanent procession'. Thomas' reflection is based on an interpretation of the problems of Arianism and Sabellianism because they conceive procession like a...

Biblical Exegesis And Trinitarian Theology

The previous chapter brought to our attention some fundamental features of Thomas' reading of Scripture Written in the faith of the Church, Scripture 1 Thus, for instance, the question of our knowledge of God 'How can we know God ' and that of our language for God the 'divine names' are not placed at the beginning of the treatise on God, but in the middle of it ST I, qq. 12-13 , after the discussions of the existence of God and of the attributes of God's being. directs us to the divinity of the...

The Revelation Of The Trinity Through Its Works

We must distinguish the pathway by which we discover the Trinity the Trinity's self-revelation by acting in the world from the way in which theological understanding lays out the revealed mystery the processions and the eternal properties of the persons , illuminating their action in the world. On the path giving us access to the Trinitarian mystery, the manifestation of the Trinity through the action of the Son and the Holy Spirit takes precedence. According to the Apostolic witness, the...

Thomas Exposition of Speculative Trinitarian Theology

In order correctly to understand Thomas' treatise on Trinitarian theology in the Summa Theologiae, one has to begin by paying attention to the broad underlying intention in his presentation of the treatise. Thomas does not launch his treatise with epistemological and methodological prologues, describing his intention. He refines it in the course of his research, when particular questions come up, following the procedure which one can see in other parts of the Summa the epistemological elements...