A Immanent and Economic Trinity

The first distinction is between God in his immanent being (ST I, qq. 2-43), and God in his creative and saving action (qq. 44 ff.). This distinction takes us back to the origins of speculative Trinitarian theology. It is founded on the Christian doctrinal requirement, as formulated in the fourth century the existence of the divine persons and their personal properties is dependent neither on creation nor on the divine action in the world. To avoid considering the Son and the Holy Spirit as...

C The Game Plan of the Treatise on the Trinity

Using the elements which we have just brought to mind (the common and the proper), and in line with the project of thinking about faith which we sketched in the previous chapter, Thomas' thesis aims at giving an account of the divine persons who are the one God (the common essence), each of whom is characterized by a personal property (the distinction of persons). The notion of person as 'subsistent relation' which we will look at in detail later on4s is thus the synthesizing principle of...

Procession Which Is The Generation Of The Word

Catholic faith 'advances on a middle ground'33 between the errors, but also radically overturns their perspective. It does this by considering procession not as an action ad extra, but as an immanent action 29 ST I, q. 27, a. 1. 30 De potentia, q. 10, a. 2. 31 SCG IV, ch. 6 (no. 3387). This idea is drawn from Augustine, De Trinitate XV.XX.38. 32 See especially SCG IV, chs. 5-6. On Thomas' knowledge of Arianism, see P. Worrall, 'St. Thomas and Arianism', RTAM23 (1956), 208-259 24 (1957), 45-100....

The Consubstantiality Of The Persons

The recognition of the plurality of the persons is the counterpart of the unswerving affirmation of the identity of person and essence. This identity was emphasized earlier in the scrutiny of the notion of 'person' (q. 29). Thomas comes back to this examination when he deals systematically with the relationships of persons and essence, much later in the Summa Theologiae 65 De potentia, q. 9, a. 7. The transcendental multiplicity thus consists in one aYrmation and De potentia, q. 9, a. 7, ad 4....

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...

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...