In this episode, Wyatt and Ian stumble along trying to keep up with Thomas Aquinas as he explains how the Father, Son, and Spirit relate to one another while remaining the one God of Israel. The Bible tells us that the Father is the Father of the Son, and the Son of the Father. So they are distinct yet both remain the one God. How can we talk about this? Thomas summarizes the theological explanation of this reality through his discussion on relations in God.

The key is that the word “generation” refers to the procession of the Son, while filiation and paternity describe the relation of Father and Son. But for the Spirit, there is no proper name for the relation. Both the procession and relation use a common word. So the pairing for the Spirit if spiration from the Father and Son and procession (the common term) of the Spirit from both.

Emery writes: “It gives us paternity (the relation of the Father to the Son), filiation (the relation of the Son to the Father), the spiration of the Holy Spirit (the relation of the Father and the Son in respect to the Holy Spirit), and the procession of the Holy Spirit (the relation of the Holy Spirit in respect to the Father and the Son)” (Aquinas, 99–100).

He further explains: “Thomas comes back to the linguistic problem which we have in talking about the procession of the Holy Spirit: we must use a common name (‘procession’) to designate both the origin proper to the Holy Spirit and the relations springing from this origin. Whereas, when we are speaking about the mutual reference of the Father and the Son, we can make a linguistic distinction between the procession (‘generation’) and the relations which it founds, (‘paternity’ and ‘filliation’), linguistic constraints compel us to designate the relations by the procession and the action themselves (‘procession’ and ‘spiration’)” (Aquinas 101). 


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