The Cappadocian Fathers and the Doctrine of the Holy Trinity Essay

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In speaking about God, the Catholics pronounce, God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Spirit. These names are predicated comparatively and decently spoken, as belonging to each individual in peculiar as Father, Son and the Holy Spirit. It is of import to observe that neither the Father, nor the Son, nor the Holy Spirit is the Three, unless they are spoken of singly with regard to themselves but as One, the Trinity. Thus the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit are one God who is good, holy and almighty. From this apprehension, this paper seeks to show the Holy Trinity in the divinity of St Augustine. In this enterprise, the paper shall get down in brief with the part of the Cappadocian male parents on the Nicaea-Constantinople credo. Second the paper shall explicate the philosophy of the Holy Trinity harmonizing to Augustine. Last, the analysis of Augustine’s divinity of the Trinity shall be given before the decision.

The Cappadocian Fathers and the Doctrine of the Holy Trinity

The philosophy of the Holy Trinity put away in the credo of Constantinople reaffirmed the usage of the termhomoousiousin depicting the relationship of the Son to the Father. That is the Son is “true God from True God, begotten non made, of one substance with the Father ( Faber 21 ) . It is through the Cappadocian male parents viz. Basil of Caesarea, Gregory of Nyssa and Gregory of Nazianzus, that some footings were coined and explained so as to assist in the preparation of the philosophy in its authoritative signifier as it is today. For illustration, ‘mia ousia treis hypostasis’which is translated as “God is One Nature three persons” ( Faber 19 ) . It is from these, that significances of certain footings were fixed particularly‘ousia and hypostasis’.Ousiais the cosmopolitan kernel, what makes them together or that which binds the three individuals together, while,hypestasisis the character of each individuals ( St Augustine 28 ) . It is through the Cappadotian male parents that the job of the beginning of the Son was settled, that is: since the Son is of the same substance with the Father, so the Son was begotten (gennesia) non made.

Among the Capadodian Fathers, it is Basil who was the first to take a firm stand on the Divinity of the Holy Spirit. This is clearly seen in the doxology which he pronounced that is, ‘glory to the Father with the Son with the Spirit’ ( St Augustine 28 ) . With this, he affirmed that the Holy Spirit is worthy the same honor and the same worship with the Father and the Son. As such it follows that the Spirit belongs, in both equality and in self-respect in the sanctum three.

In add-on to that, Gregory of Nyssa described the Spirit as life giving. This was derived from the instruction that the formation of the Christian and his flawlessness (teleiosis) of which Christ was a theoretical account were the work of the Holy Spirit. The spirit was hence consubstantial with the Son and the Father, a integrity ofousiabut a differentiation ofHypothesis( 28 ) .

Furthermore, Gregory of Nazianzus continues to depict how the Holy Spirit returns from the Father in a manner that is different from the Son ( Augustine 28 ) . He besides affirmed the consubstantiality and insisted on the monarchy of the Father who is without get downing. He maintained that: the name of the 1 who is without a beginning is the Father, the name of the beginning is the Son and the name of the 1 with beginning is the Holy Spirit ( Faber 24 ) . In this manner he maintained the Godhead. It is from this that in the council of Constantinople completed the credo, confirming the new deity of the Spirit and his eventful significance for the human life of grace. That is, the Christian would profess their religion stating, I believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord and giver of life, who proceeds from the Father, together with the Father and the Son who spoke through Nebiims.

Augustine’s Interpretation of the Holy Trinity

Scott avers that, the philosophy of the Holy Trinity harmonizing to Augustine is non taken from the sociological position but he minimized the Godhead person’s equality by stressing God’s unity in either hierarchal or ontological sense. In the Tradition, it is in the Bible that naming God as substance or an kernel is justified. This implies that, God is excluded from all that is inadvertent and capable to alter. Although non everything said of God is said in footings of substance, for illustration, relational statements like ‘unbegotten’ or ‘origin’ are to be understood as inadvertent, but they do non mean any alteration in God ( Studer 107 ) . On the other manus, there are scriptural words which refer to all three individuals ( the term appropriated to the single individual such as ‘love’ , spirit, infinity, signifier ) seem to present a plurality of names into God. Everything meant by these footings is indistinguishable with the being of God. It is from this connexion that Augustine developed the cardinal differentiation between decently or particularly and common or universally, so as to infer the assorted ways in which the Bible and traditions speak of wisdom, Love and the Spirit of God ( Studer 107 ) .

In seeking to explicate how the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, who exist together from infinity and besides work together outside deity since the beginning of creative activity are in one deity and manifest their integrity every bit, Augustine applied the differentiation between decently ( particularly ) and in common ( universally ) ( Studer 104 ) . That is, in peculiar the Spirit is used of all the three in common, but decently or particularly of the Holy Spirit. Thus, in a proper sense, the Father is to be called God, while in common the full Three as the instance may be, may be called God. This follows that the common construct of God is non distinguished in its context from the construct as used in the proper sense ( 104 ) . Naming the Father to be decently God, may merely denote that, what is being asserted when God is said of the three individuals together is ascribed to the Father as the beginning with the Godhead ( principaliter ) ( 105 ) .

It is through this differentiation that Augustine conveys a clear thought of what he understood by the Trinity and by what all people have in common every bit good as what is ascribed to the Father decently and as the beginning, is the godly kernel ( Studer 108 ) . That is when one calls the Son and the Spirit, God ; this means in every instance the changeless and ageless being. The godly kernel in itself is described as the supreme truth and supreme good ( 108 ) . As such, he maintains that, all that is said about the three individuals and one God is indistinguishable with God’s being: infinity, wisdom and beatitude ( 108 ) . In seeking to explicate how the construct of God in common or God universally, is used to the full Trinity, Augustine stated by excepting all possible mistakes that can be found in the philosophy of God. He noted that, to believe of the integrity of God, one must non believe of God as the bodily being or as if God were the same in being or as if God beget God himself ( 106 ) . But for a start, one should bear in head that, God contains all good in the Godhead ego, HE is Immutable and is the supreme good.

To acquire a perfect image for the Trinity, Augustine turns foremost and foremost to the mental life of a human individual and undertaking this image on the interior universe for God, by comparing God and the human Soul, where God is seen non merely as incorporeal and changeless being but besides as the God who loves and knows ( Studer 108 ) . That is, God is acknowledged as the all transcendent being, and is reverenced as Love and the end of human desire. In the Trinity, Augustine seeks the image of God in the human psyche of the three individuals as one God, by singling out the three facets of the head viz. , memory, understanding and will. Like the three individuals in the Three who are one God, memory apprehension and will are one head. As such, whatever is said of the three is said of the three together in remarkable merely as the three individuals are non three ‘gods’ but One God ( Stump 156 ) . He maintained that, the three are interrelated that, there can be no will to retrieve unless one clasp in memory ( at least partly ) the things he/she wants to retrieve. For what is wholly forgotten can non be willed or recalled. Since each act of remembrance involves the three, the will use memory to the sense either by turning off the memory from reasonable objects or by turning the mind’s attending off from the memory ( 156 ) . This eligma of the Trinity in the human head includes the mental word which is brought away from the memory.

From this history of the mental word, Augustine’s Trinitarian divinity was given an understanding on how the Eternal Word generated from the Father. Since all words spoken aloud are marks of the interior words, it is from the depot of memory from which is born a true word. In the human head, memory is correspondent to the Father and the mental word is correspondent to the Word of the Father ; as the metal word returns from memory, so the Son is born or returns from the Father. Just as cognition is born from cognition, vision from vision, understanding which is found in idea from the apprehension which had been in memory but hidden ( 157 ) , in the same eligma, Augustine finds the similitude of the Holy Spirit in love which is present in understanding along with memory. For without memory, the regards of one’s idea has no object to return to and without love, it has no ground to return to it ( Stump 157 ) . Hence memory, understanding and love/will, provide an vague apprehension of the Triune God. As such, the primacy of memory for Augustine’s history of human knowledge is seen from its analogy with the Father who is foremost in the Trinity.

Hence, in the Three, merely God the Father is unbeggoten, merely the Son is begotten and merely the Spirit returns from both the Father and the Son ( 108 ) . Since the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit ever work together, as such the Trinity is one God. Since in the Bible, the Father is represented merely as the 1 who sends, it becomes clear that the Father must be regarded as God who if from ‘no one’ as the beginnings of all godly life, the beginning of Godhead kernel, God “in the proper sense” ( 108 ) . On the emanation of the Holy Spirit from both the male parent and the Son, Augustine maintains that the interior life of the Trinity is cognizable merely on the footing of the Easter enigma [ 1 ] . It is through the economic system of the Three that the subjective Trinity is revealed

In all his work, Augustine, maintained that, the Bible is the land for the Three every bit good as the integrity of the Godhead. As it is illustrated in the text, “go baptise all the states in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” ( Mt 28:19-20 ) . It is from this that Augustine appealed to the Bible in support of his apprehension that, the Spirit returns from the Father and the Son, as Jesus said, “Whom I will direct you from my Father” ( Jn 15: 26 ) . And besides, after his Resurrection, Jesus breathed upon them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit” ( Jn 14:26 ) . This can besides be said of the power which went out of him during the healing Sessionss. It is from these and many poetries that Augustine believed that the Holy Spirit returns from both the Father and the Son. However, the function of the Holy Spirit is to be the nexus or the love between the Father and the Son, for it of course follows that the beginning the Holy Spirit would be both of them ( Faber 30 ) .


In the Trinity, Augustine maintains that although these names decently spoken of belonging to each individual as Father, Son and Holy Spirit, the Trinity is the three together non persons. Therefore, the Father is God, good and almighty, the Son is God, good and almighty, and the Spirit is God, Good and omnipotent but yet One God ( Book 8 ) . Since what is great, is great from no other beginning than from that it genuinely is, hence, in respect to the substance of truth, that which is more true is greater ( Book 8 ) . However, this is non applicable to the Trinity, for the Father and the Son are non more true than the Father singly and the Son singly. As such, together they are non something greater than each one by himself entirely ( Book 8 ) . In the same clip, the Holy Spirit truly is, as such the Father together with the Son are non something greater than the Holy Spirit by himself because the Holy Spirit truly is. This follows that no 1 is truer than the other. The same is applied to all the individuals since in the kernel of the truth, to be true is one and the same as to be, and to be is one and the same as to be great. This follows that, that which is every bit true, must be every bit great ( Augustine 5 ) . However, some people have accused and criticized St Augustine keeping that, his work gave a rise to unorthodoxies such as Protestantism, Jansenism.

However, Augustine was really philosophical in picturing the philosophy of the Most Holy Trinity, to the extent that, in a manner he might be taken as person who overlooked the impression that, the philosophy of the Holy Trinity is a enigma of redemption and an article of religion. Hence his work and divinity have provided a helpful footing for measuring the Trinitarian philosophy in the Christian divinity of faith. He stood at an of import point in the development of a Trinitarian philosophy by solidifying the cardinal elements of what today the Catholics retrospectively name the Trinitarian orthodoxy. Due to this, he is held as a dependable authorization whose philosophy reflects the scriptura instruction and the credal look of Christian orthodoxy. It so follows that, his learning on the Trinity is one of the most influential in the Western Church every bit good as among other Protestant churches. Consequently, it is to him that, the indispensable Trinitarian issues raised in the divinity of faith are address to.


In this discourse, the paper, has noted the part of the Cappadocian Fathers to the philosophy of the Holy Trinity, who helped in settling the job of the relationship between the Father and the Son. They clarified the deity of the Holy Spirit, as a life giver and how it proceeded from the Father and the Son. With this background, the paper proceeded to give Augustine account of the philosophy of the Holy Trinity, where he used the eligma of human Saul ( memory, understanding and will ) to show one head, so as to explicate how the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit are one God. Last, the paper has come to the decision that, although some people accuse Augustine’s work as the genteelness land for unorthodoxy, his theological work has provided a footing for measuring the Trinitarian philosophy in the Christian religion, by solidifying the cardinal elements of what today the Catholics retrospectively name the Trinitarian orthodoxy. As such, he is held as a dependable authorization whose philosophy reflects the scriptura instruction and the credal look of Christian orthodoxy, and his instruction is one of the most influential in the western Church every bit good as among other Protestant churches


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