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55 minutes ago, 3DOP said:

It is of grave importance that we learn that the Maker of Heaven and Earth, God the Son, co-equal with the Father in every way except that as Sheed explains, the Father has the divine nature unreceived, while the Son has the same divine nature received. But I fear that if we deny the Son is eternally subordinate, we will miss another important truth that the Son came to teach. This would be regarding the harmonious hierarchy within the Godhead. Equality of nature? Yes and it is defined. Equality of relationship? I think the answer is in the negative, but the implication of it is undefined by the Church. Harmonious obedience is necessary to every just hierarchy. Many of our frustrations regarding obedience to authority can be reduced by reflecting on the fact that the Son seemed to relish His subordinate position to the Father. When somebody asked if the Lord had eaten anything, Jesus replied, "My meat is to do the will of Him that sent me." His meat? It was nourishment to His soul to "do the will of Him that sent me."  

This makes a lot of sense to me, and also makes sense (in my mind) of the verses of scripture that indicate that Jesus is eternally subject to the Father.   Saying that the subjection of the Son to the Father is only because of the incarnation of the Son doesn't really address what the scriptures state, in my opinion.  How widely held is the view that you explained above?

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1 hour ago, 3DOP said:

the Father has the divine nature unreceived, while the Son has the same divine nature received

Does this not imply that at one time the Son did not possess the divine nature though?  How can one receive something they have always had?

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2 hours ago, Calm said:

Does this not imply that at one time the Son did not possess the divine nature though?  How can one receive something they have always had?

Great question. No answer. I do not comprehend time and eternity. But I am comfortable with not knowing about the hows of God.

Given Catholic Tradition and Scripture, it seems like God wants us to sometimes believe without understanding. I cannot say if that would resonate with you guys.

 

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1 hour ago, 3DOP said:

Great question. No answer. I do not comprehend time and eternity. But I am comfortable with not knowing about the hows of God.

Given Catholic Tradition and Scripture, it seems like God wants us to sometimes believe without understanding. I cannot say if that would resonate with you guys.

 

It resonates with me!

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5 hours ago, InCognitus said:

This makes a lot of sense to me, and also makes sense (in my mind) of the verses of scripture that indicate that Jesus is eternally subject to the Father.   Saying that the subjection of the Son to the Father is only because of the incarnation of the Son doesn't really address what the scriptures state, in my opinion.  How widely held is the view that you explained above?

Hi InCog.

How widely held is the view I express (eternal subordination of the Son to the Father)?

I would think that billions of Catholics in the world today have never thought about it. Of those who have, I could not know any percentages. As far as I can tell, this is not a question that has been decided by "creedal Christianity". After reflection, I do not think either side of those Catholics who have beliefs about it, would be wise to accuse the other of error, until and unless the Church should speak definitively. 

So anyway, I am only saying what I think a Catholic should best believe. Is there an LDS position?

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58 minutes ago, mfbukowski said:

It resonates with me!

There are endless questions we don’t have answers for and plenty mysteries in the Restored Gospel (how does the Atonement exactly work to purge our souls of the consequences of sin?). We do have some pretty decent answers for some very important questions though, imo (what is God’s work and glory, for example).

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2 hours ago, Calm said:

There are endless questions we don’t have answers for and plenty mysteries in the Restored Gospel (how does the Atonement exactly work to purge our souls of the consequences of sin?). We do have some pretty decent answers for some very important questions though, imo (what is God’s work and glory, for example).

"Why is there something rather than nothing?"

See above.

That's just the beginning.

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16 hours ago, Calm said:

Does this not imply that at one time the Son did not possess the divine nature though?  How can one receive something they have always had?

This answer may be a bit mysterious, but the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are not in any way bound to "one time." 

The theologians I read think of it as the Father eternally giving (or generating) and the Son eternally receiving--always and forever, never a time when they weren't because they aren't bound by time--Alpha to Omega. This idea has implications for the Incarnation too, perhaps a moment of eternity intersecting Mary's mortal timeline.

We have to use language that is bound in time, even one word and one letter/character 'at a time' so to speak. There are artists who try to gesture to timelessness in stained glass, frescoes, statuary, architecture, and all the iconography that the iconoclasts destroyed. Sometime we'll have to discuss the restrictions of the ordered sequence of language as a major Catholic and Orthodox objection to sola scriptura. In Catholic thinking, language can convey truth--certainly Sacred Scripture and prayers do this--but other meaningful forms can convey beauty, truth, and the good, and can do so in a way that isn't experienced in quite the same 'timely' way as is language.

Perhaps the temples of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints try to convey truth in less timebound ways?  Any time I experience a sense of sacred space, it seems a little less framed by time.

 

 

Edited by Saint Bonaventure
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IMO, for a correct understanding of the eternal submission of the Son of God to God the Father within the Catholic Tradition, one should turn to the RCC's greatest theologian—Thomas Aquinas. The following is from his commentary on John concerning Jesus’ affirmation that, “the Son cannot do anything of himself, but only what he sees the Father doing” (John 5:19):

 >>746 To get the true meaning of Christ’s statement, we should know that in those matters which seem to imply inferiority in the Son, it could be said, as some do, that they apply to Christ according to the nature he assumed; as when he said: “The Father is greater than I” (below 14:28). According to this, they would say that our Lord’s statement, the Son cannot do anything of himself, should be understood of the Son in his assumed nature. However, this does not stand up, because then one would be forced to say that whatever the Son of God did in his assumed nature, the Father had done before him. For example, that the Father had walked upon the water as Christ did: otherwise, he would not have said, but only what he sees the Father doing.

And if we say that whatever Christ did in his flesh, God the Father also did in so far as the Father works in him, as said below (14:10): “The Father, who lives in me, he accomplishes the works,” then Christ would be saying that the Son cannot do anything of himself, but only what he sees the Father doing in him, i.e., in the Son. But this cannot stand either, because Christ’s next statement, For whatever the Father, does, the Son does likewise, could not, in this interpretation, be applied to him, i.e., to Christ. For the Son, in his assumed nature, never created the world, as the Father did. Consequently, what we read here must not be understood as pertaining to Christ’s assumed nature.

747 According to Augustine, however, there is another way of understanding statements which seem to, but do not, imply inferriority in the Son: namely, by referring them to the origin of the Son coming or begotten from the Father. For although the Son is equal to the Father in all things, he receives all these things from the Father in an eternal begetting. But the Father gets these from no one, for he is unbegotten. According to this explanation, the continuity of thought is the following: Why are you offended because I said that God is my Father, and because I made myself equal to the Father? Amen, amen, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of himself. As if to say: I am equal to the Father, but in such a way as to be from him, and not he from me; and whatever I may do, is in me from the Father.

748 According to this interpretation, mention is made of the power of the Son when he says, can, and of his activity when he says, do. Both can be understood here, so that, first of all, the derivation of the Son’s power from the Father is shown, and secondly, the conformity of the Son’s activity to that of the Father.

749 As to the first, Hilary explains it this way: Shortly above our Lord said that he is equal to the Father. Some heretics, basing themselves on certain scriptural texts which assert the unity and equality of the Son to the Father, claim that the Son is unbegotten. For example, the Sabellians, who say that the Son is identical in person with the Father. Therefore, so you do not understand this teaching in this way, he says, the Son cannot do anything of himself, for the Son’s power is identical with his nature. Therefore the Son has his power from the same source as he has his being (esse); but he has his being (esse) from the Father: “I came forth from the Father, and I have come into the world” (Jn 16:28). He also has his nature from the Father, because he is God from God; therefore, it is from him that the Son has his power (posse).

So his statement, the Son cannot do anything of himself, but only what he sees the Father doing, is the same as saying: The Son, just as he does not have his being (esse) except from the Father, so he cannot do anything except from the Father. For in natural things, a thing receives its power to act from the very thing from which it receives its being: for example, fire receives its power to ascend from the very thing from which it receives its form and being. Further, in saying, the Son cannot do anything of himself, no inequality is implied, because this refers to a relation; while equality and inequality refer to quantity. (Bold emphasis in the original.)>> [https://isidore.co/aquinas/John5.htm]

Aquinas articulates two very important points: first, everything that the Son is and has (e.g. his person, essence, attributes) is from the Father; and second, the Son ‘cannot do anything except from the Father’.

To this I would add that the relationship between the Father and the Son as delineated by Aquinas is an eternal relationship that has no beginning in time, and no end.

 

Grace and peace,

David

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On 11/1/2022 at 1:58 PM, David Waltz said:

IMO, for a correct understanding of the eternal submission of the Son of God to God the Father within the Catholic Tradition, one should turn to the RCC's greatest theologian—Thomas Aquinas. The following is from his commentary on John concerning Jesus’ affirmation that, “the Son cannot do anything of himself, but only what he sees the Father doing” (John 5:19):

 >>746 To get the true meaning of Christ’s statement, we should know that in those matters which seem to imply inferiority in the Son, it could be said, as some do, that they apply to Christ according to the nature he assumed; as when he said: “The Father is greater than I” (below 14:28). According to this, they would say that our Lord’s statement, the Son cannot do anything of himself, should be understood of the Son in his assumed nature. However, this does not stand up, because then one would be forced to say that whatever the Son of God did in his assumed nature, the Father had done before him. For example, that the Father had walked upon the water as Christ did: otherwise, he would not have said, but only what he sees the Father doing.

And if we say that whatever Christ did in his flesh, God the Father also did in so far as the Father works in him, as said below (14:10): “The Father, who lives in me, he accomplishes the works,” then Christ would be saying that the Son cannot do anything of himself, but only what he sees the Father doing in him, i.e., in the Son. But this cannot stand either, because Christ’s next statement, For whatever the Father, does, the Son does likewise, could not, in this interpretation, be applied to him, i.e., to Christ. For the Son, in his assumed nature, never created the world, as the Father did. Consequently, what we read here must not be understood as pertaining to Christ’s assumed nature.

747 According to Augustine, however, there is another way of understanding statements which seem to, but do not, imply inferriority in the Son: namely, by referring them to the origin of the Son coming or begotten from the Father. For although the Son is equal to the Father in all things, he receives all these things from the Father in an eternal begetting. But the Father gets these from no one, for he is unbegotten. According to this explanation, the continuity of thought is the following: Why are you offended because I said that God is my Father, and because I made myself equal to the Father? Amen, amen, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of himself. As if to say: I am equal to the Father, but in such a way as to be from him, and not he from me; and whatever I may do, is in me from the Father.

748 According to this interpretation, mention is made of the power of the Son when he says, can, and of his activity when he says, do. Both can be understood here, so that, first of all, the derivation of the Son’s power from the Father is shown, and secondly, the conformity of the Son’s activity to that of the Father.

749 As to the first, Hilary explains it this way: Shortly above our Lord said that he is equal to the Father. Some heretics, basing themselves on certain scriptural texts which assert the unity and equality of the Son to the Father, claim that the Son is unbegotten. For example, the Sabellians, who say that the Son is identical in person with the Father. Therefore, so you do not understand this teaching in this way, he says, the Son cannot do anything of himself, for the Son’s power is identical with his nature. Therefore the Son has his power from the same source as he has his being (esse); but he has his being (esse) from the Father: “I came forth from the Father, and I have come into the world” (Jn 16:28). He also has his nature from the Father, because he is God from God; therefore, it is from him that the Son has his power (posse).

So his statement, the Son cannot do anything of himself, but only what he sees the Father doing, is the same as saying: The Son, just as he does not have his being (esse) except from the Father, so he cannot do anything except from the Father. For in natural things, a thing receives its power to act from the very thing from which it receives its being: for example, fire receives its power to ascend from the very thing from which it receives its form and being. Further, in saying, the Son cannot do anything of himself, no inequality is implied, because this refers to a relation; while equality and inequality refer to quantity. (Bold emphasis in the original.)>> [https://isidore.co/aquinas/John5.htm]

Aquinas articulates two very important points: first, everything that the Son is and has (e.g. his person, essence, attributes) is from the Father; and second, the Son ‘cannot do anything except from the Father’.

To this I would add that the relationship between the Father and the Son as delineated by Aquinas is an eternal relationship that has no beginning in time, and no end.

 

Grace and peace,

David

Dave. Hi.

"Whatever I may do, is in me from the Father". (#747 above)

I am not sure I am getting the full meaning here. Does the Son "see" the Father doing everything that the Son does? Not separately I think. Maybe it is that the Son "sees/perceives/understands" the will of the Father and the Father's will is the cause (or doing) of action through the Son? Would that be close to the sense in which you understand Aquinas to be saying that the Son does only what he sees the Father doing?

We cannot separate the activity of the Son from the activity of the Father. They are indivisible. Those "doings" which are unreceived in the Father, can only be received in the Son? It would seem that the view of Aquinas could not allow for the Son at any time to advance to a position where He "does things" separately from the Father or after a different manner.

I do not think that Aquinas definitively states that the Son is eternally submissive to the Father, nor do I know where the Catholic Church has defined it. But it seems like the truths of the Catholic faith imply eternal subordination, as a legitimate doctrinal development. If it is true, this would be an illustration of the theological progress the Church should make according to the prayer of the First Vatican Council in Session 3, ch.4:

"May understanding, knowledge and wisdom increase as ages and centuries roll along, and greatly and vigorously flourish, in each and all, in the individual and the whole church: but this only in its own proper kind, that is to say, in the same doctrine, the same sense, and the same understanding."

 

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Hi Rory,

Thanks for taking the time to respond to my post; you wrote:>>

I am not sure I am getting the full meaning here. Does the Son "see" the Father doing everything that the Son does? Not separately I think. Maybe it is that the Son "sees/perceives/understands" the will of the Father and the Father's will is the cause (or doing) of action through the Son? Would that be close to the sense in which you understand Aquinas to be saying that the Son does only what he sees the Father doing?>>

My take on Aquinas’ commentary referenced above is pretty much the same as yours. Everything that the Son ‘sees’ is what the Father ‘sees’—equating ‘seeing’ here with perceiving and understanding. I would add that to truly ‘see’ something is to ‘know’ something. The important distinction between the Father’s ‘seeing’/’knowing’ and that of the Son, is that everything the Son ‘sees’/’knows’ is FROM the Father, for the Father is the fount/origin of everything that the Son is and has.

>>We cannot separate the activity of the Son from the activity of the Father. They are indivisible. Those "doings" which are unreceived in the Father, can only be received in the Son?>>

That is exactly as I understand it.

>>It would seem that the view of Aquinas could not allow for the Son at any time to advance to a position where He "does things" separately from the Father or after a different manner.>>

Agreed.

>>I do not think that Aquinas definitively states that the Son is eternally submissive to the Father, nor do I know where the Catholic Church has defined it. But it seems like the truths of the Catholic faith imply eternal subordination, as a legitimate doctrinal development.>>

I would argue that if a person receives everything that one is/has from another, then that person is in a very real sense subordinate to the person who is the giver. That sort of relationship is exactly what Scripture and tradition has taught concerning the Father and the Son. I do not believe there will ever be any change in the future concerning that relationship; as such, it is an eternal relationship.

 

Grace and peace,

David

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Okay. It looks like we are agreed about eternal subordination. Going once, twice? Sold? I am interested in any demurrer. But time for my own Friendly Friday Question.

I have never heard of Meinhold or Prof. Albright, who seem to be in agreement with Hugh Nibley as per Dave's quote at the bottom of his post.

Worst of all, the Book of Mormon bears such alarming resemblance to scripture that, for Meinhold, it not only undermines but threatens in a spirit of "nihilistic skepticism" to discredit the Bible altogether. Since one can reject the Book of Mormon without in any way jeopardizing one's faith in the Bible, and since no one ever can accept or ever has accepted the Book of Mormon without complete and unreserved belief in the Bible, the theory that the Book of Mormon is a fiendish attempt to undermine faith in the Bible is an argument of sheer desperation. Recently Professor Albright has noted that the Bible is first and last a historical document, and that of all the religions of the world, only Judaeo-Christianity can be said to have a completely "historical orientation." - Hugh Nibley

A few of you know that Dave and I are longtime friends. But this is not collusion, nor was my last post. We do not throw each other softballs. And we disagree on things. (One of those things is about whether Dave should be Catholic! I have decided to let him make that decision. Heh.) Of course Dave would be the main person to answer this question, but presumably, all LDS here would be familiar with Nibley, and others perhaps with the formerly mentioned. So I myself am unenlightened about the household names other than Nibley, and what is being proposed about the Bible and the Book of Mormon. All answers are appreciated. 

Edited by 3DOP
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Hello again Rory,

The quote I provide is from Nibley’s article, "The Book of Mormon: True or False?", first published in the Millennial Star 124 (November 1962): 274-77. It was subsequently included in the book, The Prophetic Book of Mormon (pp. 219-232)—a collection of 23 of Nibley's articles—which is where I read it. [Note: attached to the article in footnote #29 is a lengthy transcript of a talk that Nibley delivered at a Portland Institute Symposium—pp. 232-242.]

Meinhold is Peter Meinhold, who is "an eminent German historian” (p. 219), in Nibley’s assessment. As for Albirght, he is none other than William Foxwell Albright, who “was an American archaeologist, biblical scholar, philologist, and expert on ceramics.” [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_F._Albright]

If you are interested—as well as other folk—the entire article and transcript can be read online at: http://www.lightplanet.com/mormons/response/bom/nibley_bomtf.htm.

 

Grace and peace,

David

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On 11/1/2022 at 2:58 PM, David Waltz said:

IMO, for a correct understanding of the eternal submission of the Son of God to God the Father within the Catholic Tradition, one should turn to the RCC's greatest theologian—Thomas Aquinas. The following is from his commentary on John concerning Jesus’ affirmation that, “the Son cannot do anything of himself, but only what he sees the Father doing” (John 5:19):

 >>746 To get the true meaning of Christ’s statement, we should know that in those matters which seem to imply inferiority in the Son, it could be said, as some do, that they apply to Christ according to the nature he assumed; as when he said: “The Father is greater than I” (below 14:28). According to this, they would say that our Lord’s statement, the Son cannot do anything of himself, should be understood of the Son in his assumed nature. However, this does not stand up, because then one would be forced to say that whatever the Son of God did in his assumed nature, the Father had done before him. For example, that the Father had walked upon the water as Christ did: otherwise, he would not have said, but only what he sees the Father doing.

And if we say that whatever Christ did in his flesh, God the Father also did in so far as the Father works in him, as said below (14:10): “The Father, who lives in me, he accomplishes the works,” then Christ would be saying that the Son cannot do anything of himself, but only what he sees the Father doing in him, i.e., in the Son. But this cannot stand either, because Christ’s next statement, For whatever the Father, does, the Son does likewise, could not, in this interpretation, be applied to him, i.e., to Christ. For the Son, in his assumed nature, never created the world, as the Father did. Consequently, what we read here must not be understood as pertaining to Christ’s assumed nature.

747 According to Augustine, however, there is another way of understanding statements which seem to, but do not, imply inferriority in the Son: namely, by referring them to the origin of the Son coming or begotten from the Father. For although the Son is equal to the Father in all things, he receives all these things from the Father in an eternal begetting. But the Father gets these from no one, for he is unbegotten. According to this explanation, the continuity of thought is the following: Why are you offended because I said that God is my Father, and because I made myself equal to the Father? Amen, amen, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of himself. As if to say: I am equal to the Father, but in such a way as to be from him, and not he from me; and whatever I may do, is in me from the Father.

748 According to this interpretation, mention is made of the power of the Son when he says, can, and of his activity when he says, do. Both can be understood here, so that, first of all, the derivation of the Son’s power from the Father is shown, and secondly, the conformity of the Son’s activity to that of the Father.

749 As to the first, Hilary explains it this way: Shortly above our Lord said that he is equal to the Father. Some heretics, basing themselves on certain scriptural texts which assert the unity and equality of the Son to the Father, claim that the Son is unbegotten. For example, the Sabellians, who say that the Son is identical in person with the Father. Therefore, so you do not understand this teaching in this way, he says, the Son cannot do anything of himself, for the Son’s power is identical with his nature. Therefore the Son has his power from the same source as he has his being (esse); but he has his being (esse) from the Father: “I came forth from the Father, and I have come into the world” (Jn 16:28). He also has his nature from the Father, because he is God from God; therefore, it is from him that the Son has his power (posse).

So his statement, the Son cannot do anything of himself, but only what he sees the Father doing, is the same as saying: The Son, just as he does not have his being (esse) except from the Father, so he cannot do anything except from the Father. For in natural things, a thing receives its power to act from the very thing from which it receives its being: for example, fire receives its power to ascend from the very thing from which it receives its form and being. Further, in saying, the Son cannot do anything of himself, no inequality is implied, because this refers to a relation; while equality and inequality refer to quantity. (Bold emphasis in the original.)>> [https://isidore.co/aquinas/John5.htm]

Aquinas articulates two very important points: first, everything that the Son is and has (e.g. his person, essence, attributes) is from the Father; and second, the Son ‘cannot do anything except from the Father’.

To this I would add that the relationship between the Father and the Son as delineated by Aquinas is an eternal relationship that has no beginning in time, and no end.

 

Grace and peace,

David

Hi, David. I don't think we've interacted before and I must say I'm delighted that you're citing St. Thomas. 

You seem to hold St. Thomas in high regard, and yet at the same time, I can't discern whether you believe him and find him authoritative, or if you're just citing him as a rhetorical maneuver (because others believe him and find him authoritative). If you can clear that up, I'll have a better sense of where you're coming from in the conversation.

Regarding the pronouncement of St. Thomas as the greatest theologian--simply citing St. Thomas' greatness, dropping a block quote from him, and considering a matter settled may get you in a scrap with some Jesuits, with some Augustinians, or even with a spunky group of Carmelite sisters. Certainly, Thomists might agree with a declaration that Saint Thomas is the greatest theologian, but a main school of thought is that the works of the doctors of the Church do not all settle in the soul in the same fashion. St. Augustine, St. Athanasias, and other early doctors often have a beauty that stirs and lifts and that scholastics and systems theologians, such as St. Thomas, simply don't have. And then there's the greatness in the spurring to action of Saint Therese of Lisieux and Dorothy Day. No, there's a real donnybrook here unless one just avoids the whole conversation and declares that Christ is the greatest theologian.

What I am getting at in this conversation is that the Son and the Father (and for that matter, the Holy Spirit) are equal as regarding the one Divine Nature (or the "What" of God). One of the Persons (the "who" of God) is not "more God" than is another; none of them is a creature; there is not a time when one of them was not (this is the claim of the Arian heresy). The Father eternally gives and the Son eternally receives and both do so in a way that language, bound by sequence, and by past, present, and future tenses, cannot capture.

My reference to 3DOP's post regarding subordination and the Son's human nature is trying to make a distinction that might be important for discussions between Latter-day Saints and Catholics (and between LDS and other Trinitarians too). In Catholic thinking, the Son is both fully God and fully human; he has two natures, and so, given that the Father and Son are equal in Divine Nature, any discussion of the Son being subordinate is a discussion of the Son's human nature, and probably also of the relationship between Divine Nature and human nature. My point is this:

The Son equals the Father in Divinity, but is in some sense lesser than the Father because of his humanity. None of the Divine Persons exceeds the others in glory or greatness, but there is a relational hierarchy among them. I stress "among" and not "between," but that's more than I should get into here. The reason I'm stressing the equality of the Father and the Son in terms of Divine Nature is because, in terms of prayer to God, it makes things like St. Paul's address to those who call on the name of the Lord Jesus Christ (1 Cor 1), his own prayer to the Son (2 Cor 12, regarding the thorn), St. Steven's prayer (Acts 7), etc. not indications of multiple Gods or prayers to a "lesser God" (there is only one God), but instead implications of how Trinitarians begin to discover the Trinity in Sacred Scripture.

As I indicated earlier, I'm trying to have this discussion without all of the post-Nicaea verbiage and labels that so often seem to confuse discussions between Latter-day Saints and Trinitarians. Please forgive me if I'm misunderstanding your approach or intent; I'm enjoying the exchange, and frankly, have never really tried to discuss the Trinity in any meaningful way with Latter-day Saints. 

Edited by Saint Bonaventure
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Hi SB,

Thanks much for responding to my recent musings. You wrote:

>>Hi, David. I don't think we've interacted before and I must say I'm delighted that you're citing St. Thomas.>>

I am pretty sure that this will be the first time we have dialogued with each other.

>>You seem to hold St. Thomas in high regard, and yet at the same time, I can't discern whether you believe him and find him authoritative, or if you're just citing him as a rhetorical maneuver (because others believe him and find him authoritative). If you can clear that up, I'll have a better sense of where you're coming from in the conversation.>>

I am currently an ecclesiastical agnostic; as such, when I interact with various Christian traditions, I try to use sources that are held in high regard with each specific tradition that I dialogue with.

>>Regarding the pronouncement of St. Thomas as the greatest theologian--simply citing St. Thomas' greatness, dropping a block quote from him, and considering a matter settled may get you in a scrap with some Jesuits, with some Augustinians, or even with a spunky group of Carmelite sisters.>>

Fair enough. IMO, the theology of Aquinas and the Dominicans/Thomists who are faithful to his thought are more consistent representatives of historic Catholic theology than the traditions of the Jesuits/Molinists and Franciscans. They also seem much less prone to the liberalism that is making significant inroads into the Catholic tradition.  

>>Certainly, Thomists might agree with a declaration that Saint Thomas is the greatest theologian, but a main school of thought is that the works of the doctors of the Church do not all settle in the soul in the same fashion. St. Augustine, St. Athanasias, and other early doctors often have a beauty that stirs and lifts and that scholastics and systems theologians, such as St. Thomas, simply don't have. And then there's the greatness in the spurring to action of Saint Therese of Lisieux and Dorothy Day. No, there's a real donnybrook here unless one just avoids the whole conversation and declares that Christ is the greatest theologian.>>

Point/s taken; but when it comes to a systematic presentation of Catholic thought, I personally believe that none have excelled Thomas Aquinas.

>>What I am getting at in this conversation is that the Son and the Father (and for that matter, the Holy Spirit) are equal as regarding the one Divine Nature (or the "What" of God). One of the Persons (the "who" of God) is not "more God" than is another; none of them is a creature; there is not a time when one of them was not (this is the claim of the Arian heresy).>>

The Three Divine Persons of the Godhead are homoousios (same essence/nature). But with reference to the Persons, the Father is the font/source of Divinity. The Son and Holy Spirit owe their being (essence and person) to the Father. As Augustine put, “the Son is God of God”, but the Father is “God only”(see THIS POST for more on this topic).

>>My reference to 3DOP's post regarding subordination and the Son's human nature is trying to make a distinction that might be important for discussions between Latter-day Saints and Catholics (and between LDS and other Trinitarians too). In Catholic thinking, the Son is both fully God and fully human; he has two natures, and so, given that the Father and Son are equal in Divine Nature, any discussion of the Son being subordinate is a discussion of the Son's human nature, and probably also of the relationship between Divine Nature and human nature. My point is this:

The Son equals the Father in Divinity, but is in some sense lesser than the Father because of his humanity. None of the Divine Persons exceeds the others in glory or greatness, but there is a relational hierarchy among them. I stress "among" and not "between," but that's more than I should get into here. The reason I'm stressing the equality of the Father and the Son in terms of Divine Nature is because, in terms of prayer to God, it makes things like St. Paul's address to those who call on the name of the Lord Jesus Christ (1 Cor 1), his own prayer to the Son (2 Cor 12, regarding the thorn), St. Steven's prayer (Acts 7), etc. not indications of multiple Gods or prayers to a "lesser God" (there is only one God), but instead implications of how Trinitarians begin to discover the Trinity in Sacred Scripture.>>

This is where you and I differ: you ground all subordination of the Son of God—to God the Father—to His human nature; however, I (as well as Augustine, Aquinas, Sheeben, Congar and some other Catholic theologians)  maintain that the subordination of the Son to the Father is not exclusively grounded in His human nature alone.

Hope I have offered some clarity to your questions.

 

Grace and peace,

David

 

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On 11/12/2022 at 1:28 PM, David Waltz said:

Hi SB,

Thanks much for responding to my recent musings. You wrote:

>>Hi, David. I don't think we've interacted before and I must say I'm delighted that you're citing St. Thomas.>>

I am pretty sure that this will be the first time we have dialogued with each other.

>>You seem to hold St. Thomas in high regard, and yet at the same time, I can't discern whether you believe him and find him authoritative, or if you're just citing him as a rhetorical maneuver (because others believe him and find him authoritative). If you can clear that up, I'll have a better sense of where you're coming from in the conversation.>>

I am currently an ecclesiastical agnostic; as such, when I interact with various Christian traditions, I try to use sources that are held in high regard with each specific tradition that I dialogue with.

>>Regarding the pronouncement of St. Thomas as the greatest theologian--simply citing St. Thomas' greatness, dropping a block quote from him, and considering a matter settled may get you in a scrap with some Jesuits, with some Augustinians, or even with a spunky group of Carmelite sisters.>>

Fair enough. IMO, the theology of Aquinas and the Dominicans/Thomists who are faithful to his thought are more consistent representatives of historic Catholic theology than the traditions of the Jesuits/Molinists and Franciscans. They also seem much less prone to the liberalism that is making significant inroads into the Catholic tradition.  

>>Certainly, Thomists might agree with a declaration that Saint Thomas is the greatest theologian, but a main school of thought is that the works of the doctors of the Church do not all settle in the soul in the same fashion. St. Augustine, St. Athanasias, and other early doctors often have a beauty that stirs and lifts and that scholastics and systems theologians, such as St. Thomas, simply don't have. And then there's the greatness in the spurring to action of Saint Therese of Lisieux and Dorothy Day. No, there's a real donnybrook here unless one just avoids the whole conversation and declares that Christ is the greatest theologian.>>

Point/s taken; but when it comes to a systematic presentation of Catholic thought, I personally believe that none have excelled Thomas Aquinas.

>>What I am getting at in this conversation is that the Son and the Father (and for that matter, the Holy Spirit) are equal as regarding the one Divine Nature (or the "What" of God). One of the Persons (the "who" of God) is not "more God" than is another; none of them is a creature; there is not a time when one of them was not (this is the claim of the Arian heresy).>>

The Three Divine Persons of the Godhead are homoousios (same essence/nature). But with reference to the Persons, the Father is the font/source of Divinity. The Son and Holy Spirit owe their being (essence and person) to the Father. As Augustine put, “the Son is God of God”, but the Father is “God only”(see THIS POST for more on this topic).

>>My reference to 3DOP's post regarding subordination and the Son's human nature is trying to make a distinction that might be important for discussions between Latter-day Saints and Catholics (and between LDS and other Trinitarians too). In Catholic thinking, the Son is both fully God and fully human; he has two natures, and so, given that the Father and Son are equal in Divine Nature, any discussion of the Son being subordinate is a discussion of the Son's human nature, and probably also of the relationship between Divine Nature and human nature. My point is this:

The Son equals the Father in Divinity, but is in some sense lesser than the Father because of his humanity. None of the Divine Persons exceeds the others in glory or greatness, but there is a relational hierarchy among them. I stress "among" and not "between," but that's more than I should get into here. The reason I'm stressing the equality of the Father and the Son in terms of Divine Nature is because, in terms of prayer to God, it makes things like St. Paul's address to those who call on the name of the Lord Jesus Christ (1 Cor 1), his own prayer to the Son (2 Cor 12, regarding the thorn), St. Steven's prayer (Acts 7), etc. not indications of multiple Gods or prayers to a "lesser God" (there is only one God), but instead implications of how Trinitarians begin to discover the Trinity in Sacred Scripture.>>

This is where you and I differ: you ground all subordination of the Son of God—to God the Father—to His human nature; however, I (as well as Augustine, Aquinas, Sheeben, Congar and some other Catholic theologians)  maintain that the subordination of the Son to the Father is not exclusively grounded in His human nature alone.

Hope I have offered some clarity to your questions.

 

Grace and peace,

David

 

Thank you for continuing the conversation with me.

I need to learn how to do the multiple quotes thing. I'll try to minimize confusing aspects of my musings just the same.

One thought I'm having is regarding your description as an "ecclesiastical agnostic," as someone who uses "sources that are held in high regard with each specific tradition that I dialogue with." Fair enough. Still, although you say you hold St. Thomas in high regard, you haven't convinced me that you hold St. Thomas in sufficiently high regard to believe and emulate him. In my perspective, depending on where you're coming from regarding St Thomas your comments about historic Catholic theology, Jesuits, Franciscans, etc. are cast in very different lights.

I hold St. Thomas Aquinas in high regard and several years ago did nine days of prayer regarding him (a novena). He certainly deserves his acclaim as a systematic theologian, although I personally feel a little more resonance with his contemporary, Saint Bonaventure.  

When you write that, "The Three Divine Persons of the Godhead are homoousios (same essence/nature)," I agree. When you write that "the Father is the font/source of Divinity," we might agree if 1) you're not slipping in a notion that there was a time when the Son was not, 2) if you accept that the Father is eternally giving and the Son is eternally receiving, and that 3) the Father cannot withhold from the Son in the same way that the Son must receive all of the Father. That's the "ground," so to speak, where I'm coming from and informs my discussion of the Son's human nature, the relation of the persons in the Trinity, etc.

Something that is surprising me, though, is that you said that "The Three Divine Persons of the Godhead are homoousious."

Are you a believer in the Trinity?

Again, thanks for the conversation. 

Edited by Saint Bonaventure
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4 hours ago, Saint Bonaventure said:

A question for those who are preparing for Advent:

Do you believe the Magi were following the star? Why or why not? 

They were apparently Zoroastrians who knew of their own messianic prophecies and those of other religions.  Some believe that Zoroastrianism was the origin of Judaism and therefore Christanity.

They are the Parsis of Iran.

Their Kusti ritual has unmistakable similarities with the LDS temple ceremonies, and Catholic scapular ceremonies 

The Parsis might be, imo, a fragment of an early dispensation, perhaps even an unknown-to-us dispensation, as, perhaps, the Nephites were unknown to the Israelites 

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saoshyant

Edited by mfbukowski
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4 hours ago, Saint Bonaventure said:

A question for those who are preparing for Advent:

Do you believe the Magi were following the star? Why or why not? 

Related to your question, I just came across the following article on the Interpreter Foundation website when I was looking for audio files to listen to while on my trip this week:

"A Comet, Christ’s Birth, and Josephus’s Lunar Eclipse", Charles Dike, Interpreter: A Journal of Latter-day Saint Faith and Scholarship 52 (2022): 279-320

Quote

Abstract: A comet seen by the Chinese in 5 bc has been considered by some authors as a possibility for the Star of Bethlehem. This article starts with that premise and argues that Book of Mormon evidences reinforce that likelihood. The comet path can account for all events surrounding the Star of Bethlehem. Based on typologies in the scriptures, eyewitness reports, and the comet’s timing, the date of Christ’s birth can be determined. A proposal can then be made as to when and why the wise men began travelling to Jerusalem. The comet left a trail of debris the wise men saw on the night they located the house where Jesus was. The wise men and Joseph and Mary left Judea in mid-June of 5 bc and the slaughter of the innocents occurred later in that month. Using Josephus’s “Antiquities,” this article then argues strongly that Herod’s death occurred sometime after a lunar eclipse on September 15, 5 bc and before the next Passover. This serves also to support his death in the spring of 4 bc, contrary to some scholars who opt for a 1 bc death. This study reaffirms the reality of the Star of Bethlehem.

I've only skimmed the article at this point.  It's rather technical, but sounds interesting.

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16 hours ago, Saint Bonaventure said:

A question for those who are preparing for Advent:

Do you believe the Magi were following the star? Why or why not? 

Yes...

I believe it because I think this is what the Holy Catholic Church believes and teaches. 

But my reply does not mean I know why the Holy Catholic Church teaches this.

I am re-reading Fr. Garrigou-LaGrange's Our Saviour and His Love for us. In this work he gives serious consideration to the possibility of divine union to souls not visibly attached to the true church. Maybe these wise men were filled with the love of God outside the ordinary pathways of the time? 

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On 11/19/2022 at 7:42 AM, Saint Bonaventure said:

Thank you for continuing the conversation with me.

I need to learn how to do the multiple quotes thing. I'll try to minimize confusing aspects of my musings just the same.

One thought I'm having is regarding your description as an "ecclesiastical agnostic," as someone who uses "sources that are held in high regard with each specific tradition that I dialogue with." Fair enough. Still, although you say you hold St. Thomas in high regard, you haven't convinced me that you hold St. Thomas in sufficiently high regard to believe and emulate him. In my perspective, depending on where you're coming from regarding St Thomas your comments about historic Catholic theology, Jesuits, Franciscans, etc. are cast in very different lights.

I hold St. Thomas Aquinas in high regard and several years ago did nine days of prayer regarding him (a novena). He certainly deserves his acclaim as a systematic theologian, although I personally feel a little more resonance with his contemporary, Saint Bonaventure.  

When you write that, "The Three Divine Persons of the Godhead are homoousios (same essence/nature)," I agree. When you write that "the Father is the font/source of Divinity," we might agree if 1) you're not slipping in a notion that there was a time when the Son was not, 2) if you accept that the Father is eternally giving and the Son is eternally receiving, and that 3) the Father cannot withhold from the Son in the same way that the Son must receive all of the Father. That's the "ground," so to speak, where I'm coming from and informs my discussion of the Son's human nature, the relation of the persons in the Trinity, etc.

Something that is surprising me, though, is that you said that "The Three Divine Persons of the Godhead are homoousious."

Are you a believer in the Trinity?

Again, thanks for the conversation. 

Saint B...

May we then as David suggests above, assume that you "ground all subordination of the Son of God—to God the Father—to His human nature"? (LDS do not acknowledge that distinction. For them, God the Father is human too.)

I will let the LDS answer more authoritatively as to why the Son is subordinate. I conjecture that it is mainly because of the relationship of sons to fathers, not any kind of ontological differences. They cannot, like us, refer it to the human nature of Christ, since that is also the Father's "nature". (They don't approve of our ideas about nature, substance, or essence. But they DO use the word "species", as in "after their kind" in Genesis. Of course I will be corrected by them if I misunderstand.) I am thinking that as with the LDS, the Catholic view that Christ is subordinate in the New Testament, should suggest nothing to do with inferiority of nature, and is based on a truly recent event (the Incarnation) when compared to eternity. Rather, we should agree with the LDS (and the Catholic theologians David cited) that subordination is based on relationship, an hierarchy that begins in the eternal Godhead, and flows into creation, without implying any inequality of nature. 

"For this cause I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, Of whom all paternity in heaven and earth is named..."

---Eph. 2:14, 15

Thanks, Rory

Edited by 3DOP
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4 minutes ago, 3DOP said:

Saint B...

May we then as David suggests above, assume that you "ground all subordination of the Son of God—to God the Father—to His human nature"? (LDS do not acknowledge that distinction. For them, God the Father is human too.)

I will let the LDS answer more authoritatively as to why the Son is subordinate. I conjecture that it is mainly because of the relationship of sons to fathers, not any kind of ontological differences. They cannot, like us, refer it to the human nature of Christ, since that is also the Father's "nature". (They don't approve of our ideas about nature, substance, or essence. But they DO use the word "species", as in "after their kind" in Genesis. Of course I will be corrected by them if I misunderstand.) I am thinking that as with the LDS, the Catholic view that Christ is subordinate in the New Testament, should suggest nothing to do with inferiority of nature, and is based on a truly recent event (the Incarnation) when compared to eternity. Rather, we should agree with the LDS (and the Catholic theologians David cited) that subordination is based on relationship, an hierarchy that begins in the eternal Godhead, and flows into creation, without implying any inequality of nature. 

"For this cause I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, Of whom all paternity in heaven and earth is named..."

---Eph. 2:14, 15

Thanks, Rory

Speaking from the LDS perspective, I would never describe God the Father as "human", but instead we would consider all of us to be the same kind of being as God (given that we are all the very génos of God, Acts 17:28-29).  We are all eternal intelligences or spirit beings.  But currently we are spirits inhabiting mortal bodies of flesh and blood, while God the Father and Jesus Christ have immortal bodies of flesh and bone. 

Therefore I would suggest that our view of the subordination of the Son to the Father has nothing to do with nature, but it is because of the submission of the Son to the will of the Father and the fact that we consider God the Father to be "more intelligent than they all" (Abraham 3:19). 

This is why I think scripture shows that Jesus is eternally subject to the Father, independent of his human nature.  The resurrected Jesus personally refers to God the Father as "my God" no less than four times in Revelation 3:12.  And 1 Corinthians 15:28 tells us that when all things are subdued unto Christ, "then shall the Son also himself be subject unto him that put all things under him, that God may be all in all."   So Jesus considers God the Father to be his God, a being that he himself worships, and Jesus is a divine being as well, so it's definitely something other than his nature that makes the difference.

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1 minute ago, InCognitus said:

Speaking from the LDS perspective, I would never describe God the Father as "human", but instead we would consider all of us to be the same kind of being as God (given that we are all the very génos of God, Acts 17:28-29).  We are all eternal intelligences or spirit beings.  But currently we are spirits inhabiting mortal bodies of flesh and blood, while God the Father and Jesus Christ have immortal bodies of flesh and bone. 

Therefore I would suggest that our view of the subordination of the Son to the Father has nothing to do with nature, but it is because of the submission of the Son to the will of the Father and the fact that we consider God the Father to be "more intelligent than they all" (Abraham 3:19). 

This is why I think scripture shows that Jesus is eternally subject to the Father, independent of his human nature.  The resurrected Jesus personally refers to God the Father as "my God" no less than four times in Revelation 3:12.  And 1 Corinthians 15:28 tells us that when all things are subdued unto Christ, "then shall the Son also himself be subject unto him that put all things under him, that God may be all in all."   So Jesus considers God the Father to be his God, a being that he himself worships, and Jesus is a divine being as well, so it's definitely something other than his nature that makes the difference.

I have heard people here say that we are the same "species" as God the Father. If this is granted, since we are human, how could God not also be human? Elevated humanity? Sure. Deified humanity? Sure. If I were LDS, I think I would admit to being currently undeified and unelevated. But I would not grant that my essential humanity is different from the Father. (Here we are using those words you guys hate when we start talking Trinity!). I thought the Father Himself is not finished being elevated in his humanity, in LDS thought, and neither are we.

I regret to resist correction from one who believes, But I just can't see how we can be the same species and the Father is no longer human. Catholics hold that Christ became human and always will be from now on. His humanity is also glorified to a state where it is so wonderful that it seems to be beyond human. But the marvel is that we are not the model of "true" humanity. He is! That is our blessed hope. That is why we rejoice that His Sacred Humanity resides at the right hand of God the Father. God's humanity (the Son) is destined to be the norm in the Catholic faith. It seems like the Father and the Son would provide the model of "true" humanity for LDS?

Humbly submitted...

3   

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18 minutes ago, InCognitus said:

Speaking from the LDS perspective, I would never describe God the Father as "human", but instead we would consider all of us to be the same kind of being as God (given that we are all the very génos of God, Acts 17:28-29).  We are all eternal intelligences or spirit beings.  But currently we are spirits inhabiting mortal bodies of flesh and blood, while God the Father and Jesus Christ have immortal bodies of flesh and bone. 

Therefore I would suggest that our view of the subordination of the Son to the Father has nothing to do with nature, but it is because of the submission of the Son to the will of the Father and the fact that we consider God the Father to be "more intelligent than they all" (Abraham 3:19). 

This is why I think scripture shows that Jesus is eternally subject to the Father, independent of his human nature.  The resurrected Jesus personally refers to God the Father as "my God" no less than four times in Revelation 3:12.  And 1 Corinthians 15:28 tells us that when all things are subdued unto Christ, "then shall the Son also himself be subject unto him that put all things under him, that God may be all in all."   So Jesus considers God the Father to be his God, a being that he himself worships, and Jesus is a divine being as well, so it's definitely something other than his nature that makes the difference.

Does the Father obey the Son or vice versa?

"Father if it be thy will, let this cup pass....."

Who's in charge here?

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