Begotten and Proceeds


Jesus is begotten of the Father. And the Holy Spirit proceeds.

What’s the difference between “begotten” and “proceeds”?

Many thanks for your time…


…well, the Holy Spirit wasn’t born, it just is. That’s as simple as it gets.


My understanding is; although all three have existed from all eternity, the Holy Spirit is a love, so powerful, that exists between the Father and the Son, that this love is manifest in yet another Person…the Holy Spirit. Thus the Holy Spirit "proceeds"from the Father and the Son.


So if the Father and the Spirit (who is a Person, too, not just a manifestation of an attibute, and is also co-equal), we must consider then there is the same powerful love between them; and then there is the love between the Son and the Spirit, and we might conclude than any number of additional “persons” might proceed in the same way…and if those persons loved each other, etc.

I think there is a problem with this definition.
I have heard it many times, but just because it gets repeated often, even by priests, , and it sounds nice, doesn’t make it correct.


Begotten means spawn, sire, or breed, from the father.

I am begotten from my father.

More on what the church teaches about the Holy Spirit here


I know the definition of “beget”, and that it is different from “proceed”;
Understanding that there is a difference is probably more important than defining them when it comes to understanding the Trinitarian Nature of God, and the distinction of the Persons/relationships of God, the Father, God, the Son, and God, The Holy Spirit.

Forgive me if I misunderstood.

I was just commenting that in the given explaination of the Holy Spirit, it seemed to confuse what the Church has always taught: that God the Father, alone, is the source of the Son and the Spirit;
And it seemed to confuse what the Church has always taught about the perfect Unity of the Trinitarian Nature of God: No one (or two) person(s) of the Trinity acts independently of or in isolation from the others. The action of each is the action of all; the action of all is the action of each. And the divine action is essentially one; and everything that belongs to God the Father – life, love, wisdom, truth, blessedness, holiness, power, purity, joy – belongs equally to the Son and the Holy Spirit;
Whatever the Father wills and acts, the Son and the Holy Spirit at the same time wills and acts.

I liked your Catechism’s quote from St. Gregory of Nazianzus, about the gradual revealing or the “progression” of God’s revelation of His Trinitarian Nature as a “condescension”, as reaching down to man, not overwhelming him with the Fullness of His Nature, Power and Glory; it is yet another mercy shown to draw us freely to Him in love;

 "The Old Testament proclaimed the Father clearly, but the Son more obscurely. The New Testament revealed the Son and gave us a glimpse of the divinity of the Spirit. Now the Spirit dwells among us and grants us a clearer vision of himself. It was not prudent, when the divinity of the Father had not yet been confessed, to proclaim the Son openly and, when the divinity of the Son was not yet admitted, to add the Holy Spirit as an extra burden, to speak somewhat daringly. . . . By advancing and progressing "from glory to glory," the light of the Trinity will shine in ever more brilliant rays."


I do not claim to be a Trinity expert. There are probably very few if any experts on the mystery of the Holy Trinity. You might want to start with Augustine’s thoughts on this matter.

Having said this, I see your point. I believe you are suggesting that the concpet of the Holy Spirit becoming manifest through the love of the Father <-> Son and being a person who is also loved, would effectively create a infinite positve feedback loop resulting in an infinate number of persons.

Let’s consider this then. Let’s consider that the love between the Father and the Son, results in one person, the Holy Spirit, and instead of futher manifestations of an infinate number of people, we have a love that remains in these three Divine persons that goes to infinity.

Further the radiance of this infinate love spills over into humanity where we are called to embrace this love and imitate it through our very own actions. Including but not exclusive to, the love between a husband and a wife.

Just thinking…as you appear to be. If you are looking for a totally satisfying answer on this mystery I think you will search until you can get the answer directly from the source. :slight_smile:


No thanks, I think Augustine had trouble keeping the concepts straight…
I had to check 4 translations when I read this:"Whether God the Trinity??? Indiscriminately Appeared to the Fathers, or Any One Person of the Trinity…"

He either thinks the Trinity is a Person ( like they could all be rolled up in a ball to equal a fourth person?), rather than the Essence or Nature of the Godhead, or his logic is just too convoluted **for a person of very little brain, like me.
**:confused: (more likely).

I’ll go with Saint Gregory, and as Shakespeare says,
"…the rest is silence." :shrug:

***You ask what is the procession of the Holy Spirit?
Do you tell me first what is the unbegottenness of the Father, and I will then explain to you the physiology of
the generation of the Son, and the procession of the Spirit, and we shall both of us be stricken with madness
for prying into the mystery of God. ***— Saint Gregory the Theologian


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