Monday, September 2, 2013

Armchair Theology #4

Once again, footnotes will be listed at the end of the series
continued....
The writings of Basil the Great on the Holy Ghost were fundamental to Trinitarian theology, which he showed through his skilled writing and mastery of scripture. Basil was able to show the workings of the Holy Ghost in the Triune mystery of love. He also had an important role in writing about the saving work of Christ as the second person of the Trinity. Basil argued that one cannot understand the glory of God without the Holy Ghost, and for this reason we see His presence in the work of love in the Trinity and work of Christ’s redemption on earth. Basil refers to the epistles where Paul declares that no one understands the mind of God but the Spirit and that we have been given this Spirit so we can freely abode in God as well.
(1 Corinthians 2:10-12)
“But to us God hath revealed them, by His Spirit. For the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God. For what man knoweth the things of a man, but the spirit of a man that is in him? So the things also that are of God, no man knoweth, but the Spirit of God. Now we have received not the spirit of this world, but the Spirit that is of God: that we may know the things that are given us from God.”
Basil explains that the divine nature is not made up of parts; instead the union of the three happens in the partaking of the whole. Although all three are distinct Persons, what makes the Holy Ghost distinct is that He is not begotten (as the Son is), rather He proceeds from the Father and the Son and through the Son He is joined to the Father. In Saint John’s Gospel Jesus’ glorifies the Father and vice versa. (Saint John 12:28, 17:1-5)
“ Father glorify thy name. A voice therefore came from heaven: I have both glorified and will glorify it again.Glorify thy Son, that thy Son may glorify thee”

These passages reveal the glory that the Paraclete will give the Son
(Saint John 16:13-14)
“But when He, the Spirit of truth, is come, He will teach you all truth. For He shall not speak of Himself: but what things soever He shall hear, He shall speak. And the things that are to come, He shall show you. He shall glorify me: because He shall receive of mine and shall show it to you.”
Furthermore, how the Holy Ghost is glorified and also glorifies God within the exchange between the Father and the Son. The sending of the Holy Ghost of God by Christ is man’s path to salvation. (Saint John 14:26)
“But the Paraclete, the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, He will teach you all things and bring all things to your mind, whatsoever I shall have said to you.”
To reject this teaching is to blaspheme against the Holy Ghost, which is unforgivable (Saint Matthew 12:31-32)
“ Therefore I say to you: Every sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven men, but the blasphemy of the Spirit shall not be forgiven. And whosoever shall speak a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him: but he that shall speak against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, nor in the world to come.”
Ergo, the Holy Ghost as seen by His origin and work, is distinct from the other Persons while still being the same God. Additionally Basil demonstrates the circumincession of love that the Holy Ghost is involved in spills over to creation as He guides man to Christ through the Church. The Holy Ghost sanctifies man as best seen as the Holy Ghost accompanies Jesus throughout all His saving work starting from the Annunciation, to being led into the desert, His Baptism, His miracles and healings, His passion and His resurrection. This is why the formula for baptism is in the name of the three Persons in the Trinity and why Jesus breathed the Spirit upon them (Saint John 20:22)
When he had said this, He breathed on them; and He said to them: Receive ye the Holy Ghost”


The reception of the Holy Ghost comes to fruition at Pentecost (Acts 2). For Basil, the Holy Ghost’s role in the Trinity is to reveal the glory and love of the Father and the Son, and to give the faithful knowledge of God.

The 5th and final post on the Development of the Doctrine of The Trinity will be posted soon.