Was St. Irenaeus wrong about the nature of the trinity?

It’s been my understanding that the submission is through his human nature, not the divine nature. But I do not have the schooling Father does. I must defer to Father’s opinion on the matter.


I agree with the father by the way

Thanks, Father. And I must agree with you that I’m in no position to check what you said. CatholicCrusaders and I had a lengthy discussion in another topic. I felt awkward being called to confirm. When I think of it more, though, I assume he didn’t mean to second guess you but instead wanted to call my attention to your knowledge since I had been very insistent elsewhere.

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I welcome any correction you might have to offer, of course.

Yes … but the Father, the Son, and the Spirit share one will between them, so it’s not as though there is disagreement within the Godhead that the Father has to resolve.

Our Eastern brethren may be able to speak to this; I believe they recognize “the monarchy of the Father” as an element of Trinitarian theology while obviously still being 100% orthodox (Orthodox, even) on the three Persons in one God.

The fact that Christian writers before Nicaea didn’t have a strict and consistent vocabulary for talking about what we now recognize as the Persons of the Trinity is only logical. Even if the majority position was the one eventually defined at Nicaea, the thing Nicaea provided was the very specific philosophical terminology for describing just how we have exactly one God but also acknowledge Father, Son, and Holy Spirit as distinct things. Anyone writing before that, just like most anyone trying to use an earthly analogy for the Trinity even after that, is probably going to wind up saying something that could be read heretically. Again, half the point of the Creed was “How can we put this in words that every orthodox Christian can accept and no Arian can?”


[Edit: I did not see this post before.]

I am flattered, but Father is far, far more a theologian than me. I would like to think I am doing okay at educating myself on some matters, but Father has formal schooling far superior to my religious education. I am only a layperson with no formal schooling who returned to the faith and began studying in earnest in 2015, but my study is all informal and, at best, a hobby.


Um, Wesrock is a good and reliable poster on theology, but Father, Hodos and other people consistently make good points too. It’s disturbing that you consider one guy to be the “resident theologian” here.

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The quote appears in St Irenaeus’ Against Heresies, Book 5, Chapter 18, Paragraph 2.

St Paul said something similar, "But I want you to understand that the head of every man is Christ, the head of a woman is her husband, and the head of Christ is God. " (1 Corinthians 11:3)

I second this. Also, Jesus himself said: ‘The Father who sent me is greater than I’.

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One would never know it, based on your posts in this thread.

  1. It is best to first doubt ourselves before doubting a revered Saint. Humility demands that.
  2. Things are not always as they seem.
  3. Context! This one sentence cannot be ripped apart from the sum total of the words of the venerable Saint.
  4. Crucial: Knowledge of the nature of the relationship between Father and Son. Father, Son and Holy Spirit are consubstantial, but not absolutely equal in their role and purpose.

Are you seeking agreement, validation,…

…or the truth?

I said I agree with Father Edwards Georges analysis of the matter.

The Father is God in and of Himself, neither begotten nor proceeding. The principal without principal. The Son is God because is consubstantial with the Father by being begotten of the Father. As such by being begotten, the Son is relationally subordinate to the Father as it is from the Father from whom he is divine. The Father is the principal of the Son. The Holy Spirit is God because he proceeds from the Father and the Son. Thus he obtains his divine nature from the Father and/through the Son by this procession. The Father and the Son are this one principal of the Holy Spirit and the Holy Spirit is subordinate to them by way of this relation.

This is why the Father Sends the Son and never the Son who sends the Father. This is why the Father and the Son send the Holy Spirit but the Holy Spirit never sends the Father nor the Son. The divine order portrays the order of submission and is why by tradition the three persons are never ordered in any other way than “Father, Son and Holy Spirit”. This is the divine order.

They are equal in all things except their order of relation.

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