I have watched many debates on the Trinity all of which seem to focus on the person of Jesus with the Holy Spirit seemingly getting just a cursory mention. Seems to me that the Holy Spirit is perhaps the most mysterious of the Godhead. I understand the role of the HS but don’t know much about the historicity in regard to Church Councils. Were there dissenters/heretics, people with opposing views. How did the HS go from the Jewish view of it just representing the dynamic presence of God to being considered a separate person within the Godhead. And how is the Christian belief in the HS as God best explained - if the HS is the love generated between the Father and Son does that not suggest they preceded him and are therefore not co-equal.
Without quoting Chapter and verse: (It’s after 11:40 pm here!)
Our Lord tells the disciples to baptise in the Name (singular) of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
“He will guide you into all truth.”
The Council of Jerusalem: “It seems good to the Holy Spirit and to us…”
St Peter tells Aninias snd Saphira that they lied to the Holy Spirit.
The Father’s Self-Knowledge is the Son, generated by the Father in eternity.
The total Self-giving Love between Father and Son, in both directions, is the Holy Spirit, breathed or spirated (not generated) by Father and Son IN ETERNITY: the Breath of God. So, there’s no “time delay”.
The Father possesses the fullness of the Godhead.
The Son possesses the fullness of the Godhead because everything that the Father is is in His Self-Knowledge.
The Holy Spirit possesses the fullness of the Godhead because everything that the Father is, and everything that the Son is is in that Love.
God IS in one eternal act of “ISSING”. From His perspective, everything is eternal. There’s just the eternal NOW.
God is Be-ing: the Father
God is Know-ing: the Son
God is Lov-ing the Holy Spirit.
Decades ago, Scott Hahn said something to the effect that the theology of the Holy Spirit needs to be deepened a lot. That lines up with your comment about only a cursory mention.
Sorry for such a scrappy post, typos and all, but it’s just in case no one else comes along… :shrug:
Grab Theology and Sanity by Frank Sheed.
This can be read and downloaded (gratis). The only very slightly updated book devotes more than 30 pages to the Trinity.
It worked from here:
Time to hit the sack!
Prior to the Council of Nicaea, even the divinity of Jesus was not settled. The Church fathers had to deal with this fundamental question: How can we worship Jesus as God and the Father who sent him while still maintaining monotheism. In other words, the Old Testament God is clearly monotheistic, but in the New Testament Jesus and the Father are clearly distinct.
They basically said these three things:
- Jesus is worshipped as God, and only God can be worshipped as God, so Jesus must be God.
- The Son participates in creation, and only God can create from nothing, therefore the Son must be God.
- They claimed that Jesus saves, only God can save, and therefore Jesus must be God.
From this understanding they developed the understanding that Jesus is homousias with the Father but distinct from the Father.
The Holy Spirit was not really addressed much at the Council of Nicaea. The original Nicene Creed only declared, “we believe in the Holy Spirit,” which does not affirm his equal divinity with the Father and the Son. However, the theological and philosophical framework that resolved the question of the divinity of Jesus also worked to resolve the divinity of the Holy Spirit. First, just as the Father and the Son co-created, the Holy Spirit also participates in creation. Second, the Holy Spirit clearly sanctifies. Third, the Holy Spirit was also clearly worshipped like God by the early Church. Since the Holy Spirit creates from nothing, sanctifies, and deserves worship, and since those qualities were the qualities that affirmed the divinity of Jesus because they can only belong to God, then they realized Holy Spirit must also be God and share in the one ousia with the Father and the Son.
This development took place between 325 and 381, but the divinity of the Holy Spirit was clearly developed during the Council of Constantinople in the Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed in 381.
I recommend The Creed: What Christians Believe and Why it Matters by Luke Timothy Johnson. Some of his ideas are controversial and for this forum very liberal, but he does a good job discussing the creedal developments and the incredible depth behind the words in the Nicene Creed.