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Wendelin's "Christian Theology": Doctrine of the Trinity, Part 2

Updated: 6 days ago


Council of Nicea

THESIS IV: God the Father is the first Person of the Deity, who is of Himself, and from eternity has begotten the Son, ὁμοούσιον/homoousios, of one substance, by communication of the numerically same divine essence.

EXPLANATION: I. It is beyond controversy among all those that admit the Scripture of either the Old or the New Testament, that the Father is a person of the Deity. Indeed, the Gentiles also not unwillingly concede that the Father is God: Whence the Poets everywhere salute their Jove as the Father of men and Gods.

* II. The name of Father is taken, either οὐσιωδῶς/essentially, with respect to creatures alone, which either He created or renews, Matthew 6:26; Ephesians 4:6. Thus this name is applicable to the individual persons: because the work of creation and regeneration is common to the individual persons, to God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit: or ὑπόστατικῶς/hypostatically/ personally, with relation to Son alone, eternally begotten by communication of the numerically same essence, John 1:18. In this sense it is taken by us here.

But, that He is called Father because He begat the Son, the Scripture expressly states: Psalm 2:7, Thou art my Son; this day I have begotten thee: even indeed κατ᾽ ἐξοχὴν, preeminently, because He begat the only begotten Son, John 3:16. Not by creation: For in this way He would not be the only begotten: because we also are sons by creation: Not through the grace of adoption: because we also are son by grace: but by nature: just as we are sons of our parents. Hence He is called the brightness of His glory, and the express image of the person of the Father, Hebrews 1:3. Whence the Son is God no less than the Father: just as we are men no less than our fathers. The passage in Proverbs 8:22-31 is also eminent, in which wisdom, which John calls the λόγον/Logos/ Word and Son of God, says that before the ages, that is, eternally, He was before Jehovah, and indeed was brought forth after the likeness of offspring, that is, begotten, verse 25.

But, from this singular, hyperphysical, and divine generation is to be removed absolutely all imperfection, which occurs in human generation: neither is divine generation able or ought to be impugned on account of human generation.

III. The personal properties of the Father, whereby He is distinguished from the Son and the Holy Spirit, are two:

(1.) That He is of Himself: for the Father is not of another.

(2.) That from eternity He begets the Son ὁμοούσιον/homoousios, of one substance: For the Father alone begat the Son ὁμοούσιον/homoousios, of one substance, with Himself.

IV. The Father is called the first person of the Deity, not with respect to time: For such dignity belongs to the Son, as much as to the Father. Whence all men should honor the Son, even as they honor the Father, John 5:23. But with respect to order alone. For the Father is of Himself: the Son is not of Himself, but from the Father: neither is the Holy Spirit of Himself, but from the Father and the Son.

V. Against this divine generation heretics take exception.

(1.) If God the Father begets the Son, either He always begets, or He sometimes ceases to beget:

But He does not always beget, nor does He sometimes cease to beget. Therefore, clearly He does not beget.

The Minor is proven: If He always begets, then the Son will never attain perfection, which is absurd: if He ceases to beget, there will be a change in God from being to non-being.

Response: We deny the Minor: If always to beget is the same thing as not to cease to beget. Therefore, in this sense we say that the Father always begets. The proof is unavailing: for not even in natural things does the continued generation or emanation of the same thing imply in all case the imperfection of the thing generated, or in the act of the generation of the thing constituted. For, what things are begotten by simple emanantion, without Physical alteration, are able always to be generated, in such a way that they are nevertheless always perfect: thus the powers or faculties of our rational mind always emanate from the mind, and are nevertheless always perfect. Light is always emanating from a luminous body, and yet is always perfect. By the oft-repeated example of light emanating from a luminous body Scripture declares to us the generation of the Son of God, when it says, that the Son is, ἀπαύγασμα τῆς δόξης τοῦ πατρὸς, the brightness of the glory of the Father.

(2.) If the Father begat the Son, He begat one either already existing, or not yet existing. If He begat one already existing, then the Son existed before He was begotten, which is absurd. If He begat one not yet existing, then the Son at some point was not, and began to be, and hence is neither eternal, nor God.

Response to the Hypothetical Proposition: The Father begat the Son, not as already existing, nor as not yet existing; but eternally, in such a way that the begotten existed, and the existing one is begotten. And so the Son was not before generation, nor did He begin to be after generation, but from eternity and to eternity is by generation.

(3.) If God begat the Son, either He communicated to Him His whole essence, or only a part.

But He communicated neither the whole, nor a part.

Therefore, He begat not the Son.

The Minor is proven: If He had communicated the whole, He Himself had not retained the whole: for, what we give to another, we do not retain. If He had communicated only a part, then certainly the divine essence is divisible, which is absurd: indeed, neither the Father, nor the Son, would have perfect essence.

Response: I deny the Minor: The Father communicated the whole essence to the Son. The proof is inconsequent: For, not every thing communicated is given us by the one communicating, and not at all a matter of this sort, which is immense, and able to be given up by no one. Therefore, the Father communicates the essence to the Son, in such a way that He has and retains the numerically same essence in common with the Son.


THESIS V: God the Son is the second person of the Deity, who, having been begotten by the Father from eternity as ὁμοούσιος/homoousios, of one substance, in the last times assumed a human nature, so that by suffering and dying in it He might redeem us from eternal death.

EXPLANATION: I. The Son of God’s personal property, whereby He is distinguished from the Father and the Holy Spirit, is, that He is begotten by the Father from eternity: or that He is from the Father by eternal generation.

II. That the Son of God is true and eternal God, is proven by this syllogism.

To whom in Scripture are attributed the true and eternal God’s (1.) Names, (2.) Properties, (3.) Works, (4.) Honor and worship: He is the true and eternal God.

But to the Son of God in Scripture are attributed the true and eternal God’s (1.) Names, (2.) Properties, (3.) Works, (4.) Honor and worship.

Therefore, the Son of God is the true and eternal God.

The Major is beyond controversy: the Minor is proven out of Scripture, with respect to its individual members.

(1.) To the Son of God are absolutely and simply attributed the names, and also the fundamentals and descriptions of the true God; He is called:

1. God, John 1:1, the Word was God. Acts 20:28, God purchased the Church with His own blood. In John 20:28, Thomas says concerning Christ, my Lord and my God. That these words are to be taken concerning Christ, the enemies of Christ also admit. Romans 9:5, of whom is Christ, as concerning the flesh, who is over all, God blessed for ever, Amen; in which sense in Him is said to dwell πᾶν τὸ πλήρωμα τῆς θεότητος σωματικῶς, all the fullness of the Godhead bodily, Colossians 2:9. 1 Timothy 3:16, God was manifest in the flesh. 1 John 5:20, we are in Him that is true, in His Son Jesus Christ: He is the true God and eternal life. In Isaiah 9:6, He is called the Mighty God: and in Isaiah 7:14, Immanuel, that is, GOD with us.[1] Socinus blasphemously asserts that Christ is called God improperly, just as also magistrates are wont to be called Gods,[2] because of the majesty of their almost divine office. But the heretic is not able to prove what he affirms out of hatred for God’s Son and our Savior. The Scripture calls Christ God, in such a way that it attributes all God’s works and properties to Him: as what follows will show. The Heretic alleges: when the name, God, in Scripture is put in the place of the subject, it always signifies the true and eternal God: not likewise when it is put in the place of the predicate: but Christ, or the Son of God, is nowhere signified, when it is put in the place of the subject. Which is obviously trifling and false. For, why could not the true and eternal God be signified as much by a predicate as by a subject, and that name be taken substantively in both? But also, evident examples are given to the contrary: in which, by the term God put in the place of the subject, Christ, or the Son of God, is signified: Isaiah 35:5, 6, which testimony Christ applies to Himself, Matthew 11:5; Malachi 3:1, which passage Christ also applies to Himself, Luke 7:27; Acts 20:28; 1 Timothy 3:16. No one is called God absolutely, except one that is properly God; Moses is called God, but not absolutely: for he is called the God of Pharaoh, even indeed established as such by God Himself, Exodus 7:1. By the very addressing of Magistrates as Gods, impropriety is indicated: because God, properly so called, is only one.

2. Jehovah, Isaiah 40:3, the voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of Jehovah. That voice crying was John, the forerunner of Christ, John 1:23. Jehovah, for whom he commanded to prepare the way, is Christ, the exhibited Messiah, whom he commanded to receive in true faith and penitence. In Hosea 1:7, Jehovah says, I will save them by Jehovah their God.

(2.) To the Son of God are attributed the properties of the true God: which sort are: Eternity: Isaiah 9:6, the Father of eternity;[3] Revelation 1:8, I am the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, and verse 17, I am the first and the last: which things verse 18, I am He that liveth, but was dead, teaches are to be taken concerning Christ. That Christ is called Alpha and Omega, that is, the first and the last, Revelation 22:13, even Socinus is forced to confess, contra Bellarminum et Wiekum, chapter 3, Class I, argument 10. But, that this is the prerogative of the true and eternal God alone, is evident from Isaiah 44:6, in which God Himself describes Himself in this manner and distinguishes Himself from false Gods. I am the first, and I am the last; and beside me there is no God.

Against those that refer the origin of Christ absolutely and without distinction to His birth of the Virgin Mary, like the Socinians, the passage in John 8:58 is eminent, before Abraham was, I am.

Omnipotence, Hebrews 1:3, upholding all things by the word of His power. Revelation 1:8, I am the beginning and the end, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty.

Omnipresence, Matthew 18:20, where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.

Omniscience, John 21:17, Lord, thou knowest all things. Revelation 2:23, let all the Churches know that I am He which searcheth the reins and hearts.

(3.) To the Son of God are attributed the works of God: which sort are:

The Creation of the world. John 1:3, all things were made by Him: and without Him was not any thing made that was made. Colossians 1:16, by Him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth.

The Government and Preservation of the world. Hebrews 1:3, upholding all things by the word of His power.

(4.) To the Son of God is attributed the honor and worship of God. John 5:23, that all men should honor the Son, even as they honor the Father. Hebrews 1:6, let all the Angels of God worship Him.

These testimonies for the Deity of the Son of God are perfectly evident, although the enemies of the Divinity of Christ, the Arians, Samosatenians, Photinians, Socinians, nefariously twist and evade them; nevertheless, dependence ought to be place upon them as perfectly firm achors, with the clamor of Satan set aside, which he stirs up through his cursed instruments, which even unwillingly present testimony to heavenly truth, when they maliciously close their eyes to the most radiant brightness of the word, and endeavor to impose darkness upon light with glosses of no other kind than futile, trifling, contorted, and altogether foreign to the sacred text. Our Most Illustrious Superintendent, Becmann, very recently vindicated at length and out of our own men the principal declarations of Scripture on behalf of the Deity of Christ, in his Exercitationibus Antisocinianis; let Maccovius also be considered, in his volume of Thesium, disputation 33, § 1-3.

III. The enemies of the divinity of Christ, whom we have just now named, produce the following arguments against the Deity of the Son:

(1.) The one begotten is later in time than the one begetting.

Christ, the Son of God, is begotten by the Father.

Therefore, He is later in time than the begetting Father: and hence He is not eternal or co-eternal God with the Father.

Response: The Major is not true, except concerning one begotten in time: But the Son of God is begotten from eternity. The Son of God receives being, but He does not begin to be.

(2.) Christ always honors the Father, John 8:49. He is obedient to the Father, and is sent by the Father, Philippians 2:8.

Therefore, He is not equal to the Father, and hence is not God.

Response: I deny the Consequence: according to the rule of the Orthodox Fathers: Sending and obedience do not remove equality of nature.

(3.) Christ did not know the day and hour of the judgment, Mark 13:32; He increased in wisdom and grace, Luke 2:52.

Therefore, He was not omniscient: and hence He is not God.

Response: I deny the consequence: according to the rule, by the properties of human nature posited and alleged, the divine nature is not taken away. Christ is not omniscient according to His human nature: and yet He is omniscient according to the divine nature.

(4.) The Father is greater than the Son, John 14:28.

Therefore, the Son is not equal to the Father, and hence is not God.

Response to the antecedent: The Father is greater than the Son with respect to the office of Mediator, which the Son bears; and with respect to the human nature, which the Son has; and also with respect to blessedness, whereby the glorious Father ever surpasses the humble Son. At the same time, the Son is equal to the Father with respect to the divine nature, which numerically same nature He has with the Father.

(5.) The Son is not able to do anything of Himself, except what He sees the Father doing.

Therefore, He is not true God.

The Antecedent is proven, John 5:19.

The rationale of the consequence: Because true God does not depend upon another.

Response: The Consequence is denied: The proof is inconsequent: The Son of God does not depend upon another, because He is not able to do anything of Himself, except what He sees the Father doing, since these words signify, not the dependence of the Son in acting, but only the order of acting. For, as the Son is of the Father, not by dependence, but by communication of the numerically same essence: So He also acts from the Father, not dependently, but from a common principle of action, namely, the essence, which belongs to the Son as much as to the Father.

(6.) Christ denies that He is good, Luke 18:19.

Therefore, He also denies Himself to be God.

The rationale of the consequence: because one that is not good, is not God. For no one is good, except God: as Christ Himself says.

Response: The Antecedent is not true in a simple manner: Christ disputes, not according to the proper sense, but according to the hypothesis of the Pharisee: For the Pharisee was not holding Christ as God, and yet was calling Him good: Whence according to his own hypothesis Christ convicts the man. If, according to thine opinion, I am not God, neither am I able to be called good: because no one is good, except God alone: or, if I am good, I am also God. But, in what sense God alone is called good, we have taught elsewhere.

(7.) The Father alone is true God:

Therefore, the Son is not God.

The Antecedent is proven out of John 17:3, this is eternal life, that they might know Thee (namely, the Father) the only true God.

Response: I deny the Antecedent: I respond to the proof: The exclusive particle [only] does not pertain to the Father, but to God: And so it is not the sense here: the Father alone is God: But rather, the Father is that sole and true God. For the Gods of the Gentiles are not true Gods: So also the Son is that alone, true God. If the exclusive particle, only, is referred to the Father, the Father alone will be the true God, not with respect to the Son, but with respect to the Gods of the Gentiles. In this way the Father alone is said to know the Son, Matthew 11:27, no one knoweth the Son, but the Father; Yet the Son is not excluded from the knowledge of Himself.

(8.) The one that is invoked through the Mediator is God.

But the Son is not invoked through the Mediator.

Therefore, the Son is not God.

Response: I deny the Minor: The heretics prove it in this way:

If the Son be invoked through the Mediator, then certainly He would be invoked through Himself, and so would be the Mediator, and the injured party.

But the consequent is absurd. Therefore, also the antecedent.

I deny the Minor: They prove the same in this way:

If the Son be Mediator, and the injured party, then certainly He would be interceding before Himself on behalf of the injuring party, and would be at the same time angry and placated.

But the consequent is absurd: for no one of a sound mind intercedes before himself for someone, and one is not able to be at the same time angry and placated.

Response: I deny the consequence of the Hypothetical Proposition; and the rationale is, because intercession is not required for the office of Mediator, except when the Mediator is personally distinct from the injured party. But if the Mediator and injured party be one and the same person, intercession is not necessary, but only satisfaction for the guilt of the injuring party. Therefore, the Son is Mediator before Himself, because He satisfies His own justice, for the sake of the injuring party, namely, sinful man. He is not at the same time angry and placated, but angry and to be placed. But He placates Himself, that is, He receives the sinner unto grace, because of the satisfaction that He furnished of Himself. I lay down, says He, my life for the sheep, John 10:15. Thus God is said to have reconciled the world to Himself in Christ, 2 Corinthians 5:9.

(9.) God is of Himself:

The Son of God is not of Himself.

Therefore, the Son of God is not God.

Response to the Major: God taken οὐσιωδῶς/essentially is of Himself; but taken ὑπόστατικῶς/hypostatically/personally is not of Himself, except with respect to the ὑποστάσεως/hypostasis of the Father, that is, inasmuch as the Father has a ὑπόστασιν/hypostasis. For the ὑπόστασις/hypostasis of the Son is begotten by the Father.

(10.) The Son has all things from the Father, namely, essence and properties.

Therefore, He is not equal to the Father, and hence is not God.

The rationale of the consequence: because, one that has all things from another is less than the one from whom he has them.

Response: I deny the consequence: The rationale is not admitted, except concerning one that has all things from another by grace: But the Son has all things from the Father by nature.

(11.) God is the first being.

The Son of God is not the first being.

Therefore, the Son of God is not God.

The Minor is proven: Because He is begotten of another. But one begotten of another is posterior to the one begetting.

Response: I deny the Minor: The proof is inconsequent: for not everyone begotten is posterior to the one begetting, but only one that is begotten in time, and begins to be at some point.

(12.) The Son is a creature:

Therefore, He is not God.

The Antecedent is proven out of Proverbs 8:22, in which Wisdom, that is, the Son of God, says: κύριος ἔκτισέν με, the Lord created me.[4]

Responses: 1. I deny the consequence: the reason is, that one is able to be a creature and the creator, or God, at the same time, with respect to diverse natures.

2. The Antecedent is incorrectly proven out of the alleged passage of Proverbs: For the Greek version is faulty: in the Hebrew it is not, the Lord created me, but the Lord possessed me.[5]

They insist:

Christ is the firstborn of every creature, Colossians 1:15.

Therefore, Christ is the first of all creatures.

Response: I deny the Consequence: the reason for the denial; because Christ is not called πρωτόκτιστος, that is, the first created: But rather, πρωτότοκος, that is, first begotten. Therefore, the sense of the Apostle is: Christ was begotten before all creatures: Whence it manifestly follows, that Christ is not a creature: otherwise He would be begotten before Himself: Whence Tertullian in his libro de Trinitate: How was He able to be the firstborn, except that according to His divinity, before every creature, the Word proceeded from God the Father?

They insist again:

God made this Jesus the Christ, Acts 2:36.

Therefore, Christ was made by God, and hence is a creature.

Response: I deny the Consequence: because in the antecedent to make is not to create, but to constitute, to ordain. Whence He is not only said to have been made Christ, but also Lord.

(13.) The Son is not eternal.

Therefore, He is not God.

The Antecedent is proven: Because as His being, so also His duration, which is the same as His being, has a principium: but duration, which has a principium, is not eternal.

Response: The principal antecedent of the Syllogism is denied: The proof is mostly inconsequent, because of ambiguity: for it is a beginning either of communication, or of inchoation. Therefore, as the Son has a principium of His being, so also of His duration, namely, of communication, which is the Father, not of inchoation, of which there is none: because the essence was communicated from eternity.

Against the eternity of the Son it is disputed in this manner also:

The Son is begotten.

Therefore, He began to be.

The rationale of the consequence: That, as one is decayed unto non-being, so he is begotten unto being. But, what is corrupted ceases to be. Therefore, what is begotten begins to be.

Response: The Consequence is denied: For the Son is begotten from eternity, not in time. The Proof is not true in a simple way. As one is decayed unto non-being, so it is begotten unto being in time and with mutation: but is not begotten without mutation and from eternity. Whence the person begotten does indeed receive being, but does not begin to be.

(14.) If the Son is begotten by the Father, it was previously in the Father in act or potency. If in act: then He was before He was begotten: which is absurd. If in potency: Then there was a point in which He was not in act, and hence He is not eternal.

Response: The Son pre-existed in the Father neither in act nor in power, but He was together with the Father from eternity.

(15.) The Son is not as perfect as the Father.

Therefore, He is not equal to the Father, nor is He God.

The Antecedent is proven: Because He does not generate an essential image: which is the great perfection of the Father.

Response: The Antecedent is denied: whatever belongs to essential perfection, the Son has it, as much as the Father: whatever belongs to personal perfection, the Son likewise has it, as much as the Father. But, if to generate signifies perfection in the divine: which nevertheless is denied by most of the Schoolmen: see Becanus’ Theologiæ Scholasticæ, part 1, tractate 2, chapter 2, question 6, § 3: certainly there will be perfection, not absolute, either of essence or of person, in general, but in particular, of the person of the Father, the absence of which renders the Son no less perfect, than the negation of the personal relation, which is proper to the Son, does the Father.

The objection of certain ones is the same:

He that is not able to do whatever the Father is able to do, He is not omnipotent, and hence is not God.

But the Son is not able to do whatever the Father is able to do.

Therefore, the Son is not omnipotent, and hence is not God.

The Minor is proven: Because the Son is not able to generate for Himself a Son ὁμοούσιον/homoousios, of one substance: which the Father is able to do.

Response: A distinction is introduced into the Major: One that is not able to do what the Father is able to do by essential power, He is not omnipotent.

With this limitation accepted, the minor is false: The Proof of it is inconsequence: For to be able to generate a Son ὁμοούσιον/homoousios, of one substance, does not belong to essential power, but to personal power, which does not pertain to omnipotence, or the essential attributes of God. And so a denial of a personal power, which is proper to the Father, no more impugns the Deity of the Son than a denial of paternity, which is formally the same as the power of generation. The Father communicated to the Son omnipotent essence: He did not communicate a Person furnished with the γεννητικῇ/generative, which is incommunicable.

(16.) The Son was either by compulsion or freely begotten by the Father: If by compulsion, He is not God: because God is not able to be compelled: If freely, neither indeed will He thus be God: because He had been able not to be begotten and not to be. But God is not able not to be.

Response: The Son was begotten neither by compulsion, nor freely: but by natural necessity: as God the Father is necessarily good and understand: so He necessarily also begat the Son.

(17.) The Father is more blessed than the Son.

Therefore, the Son is not God.

The Antecedent is proven: Because the Father gave the essence, the Son received it.

But it is more blessed to give than to receive, Acts 20:35.

The rationale of the consequence: Because nothing is more blessed than God.

Response: I deny the Antecedent. The Proof is inconsequent: the Father did indeed give, and the Son receive: but yet for that reason is nothing more blessed than the Son. The maxim alleged, it is more blessed to given than to receive, is nothing to the point: which is only to be understood with limitation: It is only more blessed to give than to receive, when the one receiving is unworthy and imperfect, and receives a supply for his lack: which is not able to be said of the Son. For, as Augustine teaches, book 3 contra Maximum, chapter 14: When who gave, gave by begetting, and who received, received by being begotten, it is not assistance given to one needy, but the very abundance is generated: neither is it possible that the one receiving is unequal to the one giving, because He also receives that He is equal.

IV. From these things, which have been hitherto disputed concerning the Deity of the Son of God, it is evident that the Son of God is ὁμοούσιον/ homoousios, of one substance, with the Father God. For, if there is only one God, and the Son is no less God than the Father; it necessarily follows that the essence of the Father and the Son is the same in number.

The heretics take exception:

(1.) The operations of the Father and the Son are distinct.

Therefore, their essences are also distinct.

Response: I deny the consequence: the reason is, that the distinct operations of the Father and the Son are personal, not essential or natural.

(2.) If the essence of the Father and the Son is the same in number,

Then the Father will also be incarnate with the incarnate Son.

Response: I deny the Consequence: the reason is, that the essence, taken absolutely, is not incarnate; but only the person of the Son, or the essence insofar as it belongs to the Son, but not insofar as it belongs to the Father or the Holy Spirit.

V. Finally, that the Son is personally distinct from the Father, is proven:

(1.) Because He is another with respect to the Father, as it is evident from the Gospel History, in which He often addresses the Father, and is addressed by the Father: He is sent by the Father, etc.

(2.) Because He is begotten by the Father: But no one begets Himself: but, that Christ is the natural Son of God and begotten by the Father, is evident, (1.) In that He is called the proper Son of God, Romans 8:32.[6] (2.) In that He is called the Only Begotten Son of God, John 1:14, 18; 3:16; 1 John 4:9. (3.) In that, in addition to a human nature, He also has a divine nature, as we have previously proven: and thus He is God by nature, and so the natural Son of God. (4.) In that He is the Son of God in such a way that He is of the completely same power and operation as the Father, John 5:14, 21, 22; etc.: Indeed, in such a way that He is one with the Father, John 10:29. Whence it is evident that it is completely false and impious, what the heretics teach, that the name of the Son of God does not signify in Christ anything essential, but only designates an office.

* Even the ancient Rabbis believed that the Son of God was true and eternal God, personally distinct from the Father: yet in such a way that the Father is not able to be without the Son, nor the Son without the Father.



THESIS VI: God the Holy Spirit is the third person of the Deity, eternally proceeding from the Father and the Son, who is sent by the Father and the Son into the hearts of the elect, so that He might kindle holy motions in them.

EXPLANATION: * I. The third person of the Deity is particularly called the Spirit, while the first and second person are no less Spirit: because there is essential and ἐνεργητικὴ/energetic virtue, ἐνυπόστατος/substantial to the Father and the Son, emanating equally from both as Spirit. Or He is thus called with respect to effect: because He blows where He will, John 3:8, and excites spiritual motions in the hearts of the faithful. And He is indeed particularly called Holy by reason of sanctification, which is peculiarly attributed to Him. In Scripture He is marked with various names, Paraclete, John 14:16;[7] 15:26;[8] 16:7;[9]the Spirit of Truth, John 16:13; the Spirit of Adoption, Romans 8:15; the Spirit of Holiness, Romans 1:4; the finger of God, Luke 11:20; Water, John 3:5.

II. The Personal property of the Holy Spirit is to Proceed from the Father and the Son.

The Holy Spirit is said to Proceed from the Father, John 15:26.

That the same also proceeds from the Son, is proven:

(1.) Because He is no less the Spirit of the Son, than of the Father. Galatians 4:6, God hath sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts. And John 16:15, all things that the Father hath are mine.

(2.) Because He is sent no less by the Son, than by the Father. John 15:26, I will send Him unto you from the Father.

(3.) Because, whatever the Holy Spirit has, He has no less from the Son, than from the Father. In John 16:14, Christ says: He (namely, the Spirit) shall glorify me: for He shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you.

Hence we firmly conclude, that the Holy Spirit also proceeds from the Son. Because in the divine no one is of another, is sent by another, has His own from another, without also being from Him.

It is objected:

If the Spirit is one person: Then He has one principium, and so He proceeds either from the Father alone, or from the Son alone.

Response: The consequence is denied: For something is able to arise from two principia: and indeed, on person from two persons: a son or daughter from a Father and a Mother. The one world is from the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Although the Father and the Son are two persons, their Spirit is only one.

III. That the Holy Spirit is true and eternal God, is proven by this syllogism:

To whom are attributed in Scripture the true God’s, (1.) Names, (2.) Properties, (3.) Works, (4.) and Worship, the same is true and eternal God.

But to the Holy Spirit are attributed in Scripture the true God’s, (1.) Names, (2.) Properties, (3.) Works, (4.) and Worship.

Therefore, the Holy Spirit is true and eternal God.

The minor is proven with respect to its individual members.

(1.) To the Holy Spirit are attributed absolutely and simply the true God’s names, of which sort are:

God, 1 Corinthians 3:16, know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? Acts 5:3, 4, why hath Satan filled thine heart to lie to the Holy Ghost? etcThou hast not lied unto men, but to God.[10] The latter things magnify and make evident the former: so that, when he lied to the Holy Spirit, he might understand the magnitude of the sin: that he lied to God: since the Holy Spirit is God. Ψεύσασθαί πνεῦμα, to deceive the Spirit, and ψεύσασθαί πνεύματι, to lie to the Spirit, are used in the same sense. In the same passage, πειράσαι τὸ πνεῦμα, to tempt the Spirit,[11] is a synonymous expression.

Jehovah, Numbers 12:6, in which it is testified that Jehovah was going to speak through the Prophets. But the Holy Spirit spoke through the Prophets, 2 Peter 1:21.

(2.) To the Holy Spirit are attributed the properties of the true God.

Eternity: Hebrews 9:14, Christ through the eternal Spirit offered Himself.

Omnipresence: Romans 8:9, the Holy Spirit dwells in you. The Apostles understands the saints that were at Rome, and all believers, wherever they are. Psalm 139:7, whither shall I go from thy Spirit?

Omniscience: 1 Corinthians 2:10, the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God.

(3.) To the Holy Spirit are attributed the works of the true God.

Creation: Psalm 33:6, by the word of Jehovah were the heavens made, and all the host of them by the Spirit of His mouth. Job 26:13, His Spirit hath garnished the heavens.

The distribution of grace according to His will: 1 Corinthians 12:4, there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit, etc.; and in verse 11, all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, distributing to every man severally as He will.

Instruction of the Prophets: 2 Peter 1:21, moved by the Holy Spirit, holy men of God spake. But God spoke to the Patriarchs through the Prophets, Hebrews 1:1.

The government of the Church, and the setting up of Apostles and Overseers: Acts 13:2; 20:28, take heed unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over which the Holy Ghost hath made you Overseers, to feed the Church of God.

So also are the works of the true God attributed to the Holy Spirit, when He is called the Spirit of truth, John 15:26, the Spirit of adoption, Romans 8:15, the Spirit of sanctification, 1 Corinthians 6:11, the Spirit of regeneration, Titus 3:5, the Efficient of miracles, Matthew 12:28, by the Spirit of God I cast out Devils.

(4.) To the Holy Spirit are attributed the honor and worship of the true God; Romans 9:1, He is invoked by Paul as the καρδιογνώστης, knower of hearts.[12] Matthew 28:19, in Baptism He is invoked together with the Father and the Son. And, because blasphemy against the Holy Ghost is never remitted to anyone, Matthew 12:31, it follows that the Holy Spirit is to be worshipped no less reverently than the Father and the Son. See these passages of Scripture vindicated from the corruptions of the Socinians in Maccovius’ volume of Thesium, part I, disputation 36.

IV. From the things that have hitherto been brought forward concerning the Deity of the Holy Spirit, it is evident that the Holy Spirit is ὁμοούσιον/homoousios, of one substance, with God the Father and God the Son. For, if there is only one God, but the Holy Spirit is no less God than the Father and the Son, it necessarily follows that the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit have the numerically same essence.

V. That the Holy Spirit is a person or ὑφιστάμενον/subsistence, is proven:

(1.) Because He is God, ὁμοούσιος/homoousios, of one substance, with the Father and the Son: as we have just now proven.

(2.) Because the properties of a ὑφισταμένου/subsistence are attributed to Him. For He appeared in the visible likeness of a dove at the Baptism of Christ, Matthew 3:16. In the visible likeness of a fire or flame, at the feast of Pentecost, Acts 2:3.

He instituted Baptism, Matthew 28:19.

He sent the Apostles, Acts 13:2.

He intercedes for us with ineffable groanings, Romans 8:26.

He creates and works miracles: as we have previously proven.

VI. That the Holy Spirit is a person distinct from the Father and the Son, is proven:

(1.) Because in Scripture He is called the Spirit of the Father and of the Son, as we have already proven.

(2.) Because He is sent by the Father and the Son: as we have proven.

(3.) Because He is distinguished from the Father and the Son by His personal property, which is, to proceed, John 15:26.

(4.) Because He is expressly said to be another from the Father and the Son, John 14:16, the Father shall give you another Paraclete.

An exception is taken:

There is no distinction between the procession of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.

Therefore, they do not personally differ.

Response: The Antecedent is denied: the Fathers and Scholastics establish this distinction between the procession of the Son and of the Holy Spirit: that the procession of the Son is from the intellect, but the procession of the Holy Spirit from the will: but, with these things dismissed, we say that the procession of the Son is from the Father alone, but the procession of the Holy Spirit from the Father and the Son.

VII. Of old did the heretic Macedonius[13] impugn the Holy Spirit’s Deity and personality: he denied that the Holy Spirit is a subsisting person, but contended that He is only a created power and accidental property. All modern Socinians and Photinians deny that the Holy Spirit is God and a Person distinct from the Father, even if they differ among themselves over His nature.

Among other arguments against the Deity and Personality of the Holy Spirit are adduced the following:

(1.) In John 7:39, it is written that the Holy Ghost was not.

Therefore, the Holy Spirit was not from eternity, and hence is not God.

Response: I deny the Consequence: the reason is, that in what precedes in John is not understood the person of the Holy Spirit, but His solemn manifestation and revelation, which sort was made at the feast of Pentecost.

(2.) God is said to create the Spirit, Amos 4:13.[14]

Therefore, the Spirit is a creature.

Response: I deny the Consequence: the reason is, that in what precedes by Spirit is understood the wind, not the third person of the Deity.

(3.) In Scripture the Holy Spirit is called the gift of God:

Therefore, He is not God Himself.

The rationale of the consequence: Because the gift is not the giver or donor.

Response: I deny the Consequence: To be the gift of God, that is, of the Father or the Son, and to be God, that is, a divine person, are not opposed: for they are distinct persons, the gift and the giver, which share the same essence. Thus the Son is also the gift of God, because He was given to the elect by the Father, John 3:16.

Now, the Holy Spirit is called the gift of God, because out of the merciful will of the Father and the Son towards the elect He produces faith and all spiritual gifts.

(4.) The Holy Spirit is not omniscient.

Therefore, He is not God.

The Antecedent is proven, 1 Corinthians 2:10, the Spirit searcheth all things. But he that searches is inquiring, is in doubt: but he that doubts is not omniscient.

Response: I deny the Antecedent: the Proof is inconsequent: the gloss is false: when to search is used of the Spirit of God or God, it does not signify to inquire with a certain doubt or ignorance: but rather to penetrate, to comprehend, to know, all things: in which sense it is also attributed to God, Psalm 7:9; Jeremiah 17:10.

(5.) The Holy Spirit is subject to the prophets.

Therefore, He is not God.

The Antecedent is proven: 1 Corinthians 14:32, the Spirits of the Prophets are subject to the Prophets. But the Holy Spirit is also a Spirit of the Prophets.

Response: I deny the Antecedent: the Proof is inconsequent: those Spirits of the Prophets that are said to be subject to the Prophets are not the Holy Spirit, but human Spirits, or the minds of the Prophets, which are subject examination of the Prophets. The gifts of the Prophets are also able to be understood.

(6.) The Holy Spirit intercedes for believers before God with groanings which cannot be uttered.

Therefore, He is inferior to God, and hence is not God.

The Antecedent is proven: Romans 8:26.

Response: I deny the Consequence: For to intercede before God with groaning which cannot be uttered is not to degrade oneself before God; but to cause that we might petition and groan: in which sense He is said to help our infirmities.

[1] Isaiah 7:14: “Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel (עִמָּ֥נוּ אֵֽל׃).” אֵל/El signifies God;עִמָּנוּ /immanu, with us. [2] See Psalm 82:1, 6. [3] Isaiah 9:6: “For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father (אֲבִיעַד), The Prince of Peace.” [4] Thus the Septuagint. [5] Proverbs 8:22: “The Lord possessed me (יְֽהוָ֗ה קָ֭נָנִי) in the beginning of his way, before his works of old.” [6] Romans 8:32: “He that spared not his own Son (τοῦ ἰδίου υἱοῦ), but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?” [7] John 14:16: “And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter (παράκλητον/Paraclete), that he may abide with you for ever…” [8] John 15:26: “But when the Comforter (ὁ παράκλητος, the Paraclete) is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father (ὃ παρὰ τοῦ πατρὸς ἐκπορεύεται), he shall testify of me…” [9] John 16:7: “Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter (ὁ παράκλητος, the Paraclete) will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you.” [10] Acts 5:3, 4: “But Peter said, Ananias, why hath Satan filled thine heart to lie to the Holy Ghost (ψεύσασθαί σε τὸ Πνεῦμα τὸ Ἅγιον), and to keep back part of the price of the land? Whiles it remained, was it not thine own? and after it was sold, was it not in thine own power? why hast thou conceived this thing in thine heart? thou hast not lied unto men, but unto God (οὐκ ἐψεύσω ἀνθρώποις, ἀλλὰ τῷ Θεῷ).” [11] Verse 9. [12] See Acts 1:24; 15:8. [13] Macedonius I of Constantinople (flourished 340-360) was the progenitor of a heretical group known as the Macedonians, who denied the Deity of the Holy Spirit. [14] Amos 4:13: “For, lo, he that formeth the mountains, and createth the wind (וּבֹרֵ֣א ר֗וּחַ), and declareth unto man what is his thought, that maketh the morning darkness, and treadeth upon the high places of the earth, The Lord, The God of hosts, is his name.”


 

Dr. Dilday's Lecture: "The Doctrine of the Trinity, Part 2"



 

Dr. Dilday's Lecture: "The Angel of the Lord"



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Dr. Dilday
Dr. Dilday
Feb 10, 2023

For more on "essence" and "person", see De Moor's treatment of the Doctrine of the Trinity, especially V:1-5: www.fromreformationtoreformation.com/blog/categories/de-moor-on-trinity .

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Dr. Dilday
Dr. Dilday
Feb 10, 2023

Belgic Confession 9: All this we know, as well from the testimonies of Holy Writ as from their operations, and chiefly by those we feel in ourselves. The testimonies of the Holy Scriptures, that teach us to believe this Holy Trinity, are written in many places of the Old Testament, which are not so necessary to enumerate as to choose them out with discretion and judgment. In Genesis 1:26, 27, God saith: Let us make man in our image, after our likeness, etc.1So God created man in His own image, male and female created He them. And Genesis 3:22: Behold, the man is become as one of us.2 From this saying, Let us make man in our image, it…


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Dr. Dilday
Dr. Dilday
Feb 10, 2023

Belgic Confession 8: According to this truth and this Word of God, we believe in one only God, who is one single essence,1 in which are three persons,2 really, truly, and eternally distinct, according to their incommunicable properties; namely, the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Ghost.3 The Father is the cause, origin, and beginning of all things, visible and invisible;4 the Son is the word,5 wisdom,6 and image of the Father;7 the Holy Ghost is the eternal power and might,8 proceeding from the Father and the Son.9 Nevertheless God is not by this distinction divided into three, since the Holy Scriptures teach us that the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Ghost have each His personality, dis…


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Dr. Dilday
Dr. Dilday
Feb 10, 2023

Westminster Confession of Faith 2:3: In the unity of the Godhead there be three persons, of one substance, power, and eternity; God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost.1 The Father is of none, neither begotten, nor proceeding; the Son is eternally begotten of the Father;2 the Holy Ghost eternally proceeding from the Father and the Son.3


1 1 John 5:7; Matt. 3:16,17; Matt. 28:19; 2 Cor. 13:14.

2 John 1:14,18.

3 John 15:26; Gal. 4:6.

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