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4862Re: [neoplatonism] Re: Origen and the Trinity

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  • Stephen Lovatt
    Aug 1, 2011
      Dear Dennis,

      one problem with your enquiry is that the very idea of being specific and accurate regarding the Trinity only arose in response to what the orthodox recognised as heresy. So, the fact that Holy Spirit was co-equal with the Father and the Son was not clearly stated for ages. Not even the Nicene Creed says this; but only that Holy Spirit is worshipped and glorified with the Father and the Son. This fact does not mean that the Church did not all along believe in the "one in being" of the Spirit and the Son and the Father - just that this was never stated explicitly. This seems odd to us now, but that was just how their practical minds worked.

      Also, there is a confusion in Patristic language between the begetting and proceeding (respectively) of the Son and the Spirit with time (their missions in the Cosmos and Church) and the begetting and proceeding (respectively) of the Son and the Spirit in eternity. Hence one can sometimes find language which taken out of context might seem to imply a definitive Trinitarian confession, but in context is more easily understood as a statement of the divine economy of salvation.

      Also, is heretical to conceive of the Father, Son and Spirit as three "entities". This is precisely the point of the Nicene definition. The three persons are ONE-in-being and in as far as God is "entatic" (which I would dispute) God is ONE ENTITY, not three. God-as-God (the Divine Nature) is The ONE, is Justice, is Beauty, is Love, is Being Absolute.

      I think that Iranaeus is pretty explicit in his Trinitarianism, but am not sure - look up the references I gave you.
      I only know them in English translation. The original languages might make their meaning more clear.

      I am not convinced that Origen's Trinitarianism was ever called into question. In fact, where he is condemned it is not ststed what he is condemned for - which is quite out of order as the only thing which can be condemned by an Oecumenical Council is a heretical proposition or (perhaps) a person as the exemplar proponent of such a proposition; but this was not done in the case of Origen. I think that the Coptic Orthodox church considers him to be a saint and no heretic at all.



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