Saturday, September 01, 2012

Augustine of Hippo's Delineation of the Trinity Doctrine

"Wherefore also the Holy Spirit consists in the same unity of substance, and in the same equality. For whether He is the unity of both, or the holiness, or the love, or therefore the unity because the love, and therefore the love because the holiness, it is manifest that He is not one of the two, through whom the two are joined, through whom the Begotten is loved by the Begetter, and loves Him that begot Him, and through whom, not by participation, but by their own essence, neither by the gift of any superior, but by their own, they are 'keeping the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace;' which we are commanded to imitate by grace, both towards God and towards ourselves" (De Trinitate VI.5.7).

Source: Translated by Arthur West Haddan. From Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, First Series, Vol. 3. Edited by Philip Schaff. (Buffalo, NY: Christian Literature Publishing Co., 1887.) Revised and edited for New Advent by Kevin Knight. .


aservantofJehovah said...

Does Augustine anywhere explain how we are to reconcile any of this,with Jesus' being the anointed.It seems plain to me that if we accept augustine's logic that Almighty God(whether God the father or God the son),can only be the anointer and never the anointed.

Edgar Foster said...

Jesus' position as the anointed of Jehovah results from his incarnation, I would think. So he's anointed as a man and retains the position even after he ascends back to the Father. But Augustine views the Holy Spirit as being a third divine person (equal in substance to the Father and Son) "who" functions as the love between Father and Son or the unitive principle. Hence, I don't think he would see a problem with the Father being anointer, the Son being anointed and the holy spirit being that by which God anoints.

Anonymous said...

And I thought that I was guilty of writing long, convoluted sentences! I don't hold a candle to Augustine.


Edgar Foster said...


It's the rhetor in Augustine. He can't help it. :) Furthermore, I've often been intrigued by the fact that a number of the early writers were schooled in rhetoric: Tertullian, Cyprian, Minucius Felix, Lactantius, Arnobius and Augustine (among others).

aservantofJehovah said...

One would think though that if even after his incarnation he remained fully God(as Augustine an others would assert) that the spirit would remain innately united with him,and so there would be no need for any anointing with it.It seems to me that we have here yet another example of our being asked by trinitarians to accept as self-evident claims that patently are not.