Thursday, 20 November 2014

Time-locked language Part 3

Update on posts Time-locked language Parts 1 and 2

We should note that Zizioulas (Holmes, QFT, p13) strongly emphasises the Father's causing principle within the trinity. Holmes says Zizioulas qualifies this causation as something "free and personal, not something mechanical and fixed." The question and challenge raised for this article on time-locked language, is now to find something that is "free and personal" that can be caused in a non-time-dependant way. Can you think of anything?

I think I finally see a way through here in looking back at the Greek word, αἰτία, an old theological principle to which Zizioulas wants to remain loyal. In Strong's Greek NT 156 we have indeed something less mechanical. Here we speak of "guilt", responsibility, accusation, fault, grounds, reason. I cannot deny that this opens a quite different discussion in terms of NT authors' perspective around the notion of causation, however, it really must not be forgotten that this word is not used for this purpose prior to the patristic period, that is hundreds of years AFTER the scriptures were written (it would seem particularly around the debates surrounding the Filioque clause, St Maximus the Confessor, and the 15th Century Council of Florence). Where the Scriptures speak of the interpersonal relationships between God the Father, Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit vocabulary other than αἰτία is used. The word "send" jumps out very strongly in my mind.

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