Nicene Creed and the Filioque

To my understanding, the filioque states that the Holy Spirit comes from both the Father and the Son, so why in the Apostles Creed does it state that Jesus was “conceived by the Holy Spirit”?

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At his incarnation, Jesus was conceived in the womb of the Virgin Mary by the Holy Spirit.


Jesus’ divine nature is eternal, but the human nature came into being at a certain moment in history. The conception of Jesus in Mary’s womb was by the power of the Holy Spirit.


Oh so Jesus as an entity has always existed? Has the Holy Spirit also always existed? If so, how does the Holy Spirit come from the Son and the Father, rather than them all always coexisting as one? Thanks for the help.

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Yes, He’s always existed.

And later in that same chapter it tells us the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us…Jesus.


Cardinal Dulles has a really good treatise on this topic. God the Father is the Font of Divinity, so the origination/source of the Holy Spirit is with the Father. But it proceeds from both the Father and the Son .

An example of the Spirit proceeding from the Son would be:
Jn 20:22‘When he had said this, he breathed on them; and he said to them: Receive ye the Holy Ghost.’

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Augustine in On the Trinity, Book IX, Chapter 12 attempted to answer this question using an analogy to something we ourselves as human beings experience all the time.

The title of the chapter captures the essence of the explanation: The Mind with the Knowledge of Itself and the Love of Itself is the Image of the Trinity.

Essentially, the Trinity is reflected, although imperfectly in the operation of our own minds.

Our mind (the Father) has knowledge (the Son) of itself that engenders love (Holy Spirit) for itself.


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As Augustine writes…

Wherefore it must be clearly held that everything whatsoever that we know begets at the same time in us the knowledge of itself; for knowledge is brought forth from both, from the knower and from the thing known. When, therefore, the mind knows itself, it alone is the parent of its own knowledge; for it is itself both the thing known and the knower of it. But it was knowable to itself also before it knew itself, only the knowledge of itself was not in itself so long as it did not know itself. In knowing itself, then, it begets a knowledge of itself equal to itself; since it does not know itself as less than itself is, nor is its knowledge the knowledge of the essence of some one else, not only because itself knows, but also because it knows itself, as we have said above. What then is to be said of love; why, when the mind loves itself, it should not seem also to have begotten the love of itself? For it was lovable to itself even before it loved itself since it could love itself; just as it was knowable to itself even before it knew itself, since it could know itself. For if it were not knowable to itself, it never could have known itself; and so, if it were not lovable to itself, it never could have loved itself. Why therefore may it not be said by loving itself to have begotten its own love, as by knowing itself it has begotten its own knowledge? Is it because it is thereby indeed plainly shown that this is the principle of love, whence it proceeds? For it proceeds from the mind itself, which is lovable to itself before it loves itself, and so is the principle of its own love by which it loves itself: but that this love is not therefore rightly said to be begotten by the mind, as is the knowledge of itself by which the mind knows itself, because in the case of knowledge the thing has been found already, which is what we call brought forth or discovered; and this is commonly preceded by an inquiry such as to find rest when that end is attained.

The Trinity, for Augustine, is essentially God’s infinitely perfect self-knowledge. Since God is omniscient, his knowledge (the Son) of his own Being (the Father) is a perfect self-replication; and since God is perfect Goodness, his omnibenevolence entails a perfect love (Holy Spirit) between God’s Being (Father) and God’s Knowledge of his being (Son). Since God is eternal, God’s Being, Knowledge and Love have no beginning and no end but God’s self-knowledge and love are eternally begotten from God’s eternal Being.

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. . . My apologies - can’t quite understand the gaps in the line of questioning.
Perhaps it could be attributed to the apparent distortion/confusion in the title of this thread? @jonkoegler You wrote “APOSTLES CREED AND THE FILIOQUE” as the title/topic. There is no filioque clause in the Apostle’s Creed : The filioque clause is in the Nicene Creed.

The Nicene Creed does not say that the Holy Spirit comes from the Father and the Son - it professes that the Holy Spirit “proceeds from the Father and the Son.”

Finally, I don’t see how you could make this following comment -

If you had at least bothered to read the entire Nicene Creed - it’s all right there in the prayer:

I believe in one Lord Jesus Christ,
the Only Begotten Son of God,
born of the Father before all ages.
God from God, Light from Light,
true God from true God,
begotten, not made, consubstantial with the Father;
through him all things were made.
For us men and for our salvation
he came down from heaven,

and by the Holy Spirit was incarnate of the Virgin Mary,
and became man.

Sorry if this post seems a little blunt to some.

That’s a really good question. Very deep. Good for meditation & prayer… prayerful meditation.

Look up the Athanasian creed. It is a wonderful statement of the trinity.

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That’s an understatement. I literally just asked a question, not regarding the Nicene Creed, how Jesus could be conceived by the Holy Spirit with my understanding of the filioque. No offence, but you shouldn’t be answering questions if it annoys you that much.

It’s the Nicene Creed NOT the Apostles" Creed.

Because with regard to His Incarnation on Earth - He was.

Recall - Jesus existed with His Father in Heaven BEFORE being sent to Earth in the form of a babe

Well @jonkoegler if that’s the case in your mind - your perception, then why don’t you simply cite your references, with links, on “your understanding” of the filioque clause. If you say the filioque clause doesn’t come from the Nicene Creed , then please do tell us where it does come from . . . Particularly considering that the title of this thread has now been changed from Apostle’s Creed and the Filioque to Nicene Creed and the Filioque ?

You have to distinguish between his conception which took place in time and his begetting which took place before time began.

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The Lord Jesus Christ has two natures…
Fully Divine, part of the God Head(Father, Son, and Holy Spirit) AND
Fully Human. This was the fitting way that he Saved us. This is the bridge between us and the Father. He became one of us(but a perfect us) to save us… This is also why we have many intercessors in our life, but there is only one intercessor between us and the Father…

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