What Is Filioque Controversy? Know About Both The Sides And Other Stories

For those who are unfamiliar with the Filioque controversy, here is an explanation:

There was a debate over whether the Holy Spirit came from the Father alone or from the Father and the Son together.

The insertion of “and the Son” to the Nicene Creed sparked a major divide between Roman Catholicism and Eastern Orthodoxy.

You may not be familiar with the Filioque Controversy if you weren’t raised Catholic, didn’t have Catholic family members, or haven’t had the opportunity to study church history.

There had been so much strife over this Latin phrase meaning “and from the Son” that it sparked the break between Rome and Eastern Orthodoxy in AD 1054.

It is difficult to understand how a single Latin sentence can divide an entire religion.

We’ll examine both sides of the filioque debate in this post.

The Trinity with St. Agricolus: The Boulbon Altarpiece

Since there is still disagreement on this point, we cannot definitively say whether the Holy Spirit comes from God the Father or God the Father and God the Son (more on this in a moment).

It is important to know about church history and schisms that have taken place over time, as well.

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What Are the Opposing Viewpoints on the Filioque Debate?

Because of the difficulty in grasping the Trinity’s three-in-one nature, the church was split for centuries over its proper definition.

There was also a new debate about something called the Nicene Creed.

Pay attention to the following phrase:

In addition, we believe that the Holy Spirit, the Lord of life, is our source of faith. Since the Father and Son sent him, he comes from them.

“And the Son” is not included in certain traditions. There was a debate over whether or not the Holy Spirit came from the Father alone or from both the Father and the Son at the same time.

What are the implications of the Filioque controversy in Christianity? - Quora

However, we don’t witness its full impact until several centuries after the Nicene Creed was adopted in AD 325.

With the inclusion (or others believe the phrase was in there all along) of “and the Son,” the dispute gained hold.

This topic has been the subject of entire books and centuries of dispute, so a 1000-word post just cannot do it justice. The schism, however, can be viewed from both perspectives.

It is only the Father who sends the Holy Spirit (and Not the Son)

According to the Bible, the Father has a significant role to play in the movement of the

Filioque - Wikipedia

Holy Spirit. In texts like John 15:26 and Matthew 10:20, we can observe this. In these lines, the Holy Spirit is expressly mentioned as coming from the Father.

The Eastern tradition, on the other hand, will argue that there is no Scriptural evidence for the Holy Spirit also coming from the Son.

Inquiring minds may ask themselves, “OK, that seems a little too nitpicky. Changing a few words in the Creed isn’t enough, so why not?

As this article points out, Eastern Orthodox theologians think that the inclusion of the filioque clause alters the character of God, since it throws off the harmony among the Trinity’s three members.

File:15th-century unknown painters - The Boulbon Altarpiece - WGA23674.jpg - Wikimedia Commons

It’s impossible for the Trinity to have a distinct Father if the Holy Spirit comes from both the Father and the Son of God. The essay makes the case that each member of the Trinity serves a specific function.

Doesn’t it make the two humans who have a role in the godhead superior than the one who doesn’t (as discussed in the article) if they have the same function?

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The Holy Spirit comes from both the Father and the Son

This is the position held by the Roman Catholic and Protestant traditions in the West.

There are several verses in the Bible, such as John 16:7 and Galatians 4:6, that can infer that the Holy Spirit likewise comes from the Son, despite the lack of specific Scriptural confirmation.

Those who believe that Christ’s role in our lives is more meaningful because his relationship with the Spirit is intertwined will also make this argument.

Furthermore, he argues that it is equally crucial to observe how the three elements of the Godhead work together to accomplish a single goal, which is to draw people closer to God.

Why Is This Important?

With all sides involved, this debate will always remain a debate. Because the discussion has been going on for more than a millennium, finding a solution in an hour of writing is impossible.

This discussion, however, is important because it sparked the first significant rift within the church. A rudimentary comprehension of this division will help us better appreciate how this issue affects the beliefs and practises of those on the opposing side of the debate.

Challenges to our own ideas are also necessary. When faced with a dilemma like this, it doesn’t matter if we’re from the east or the west; we should always use discernment and Scripture as our guide.

It’s also important to keep in mind that God is an extraordinarily complex being, and there are some mysteries we may never be able to fully understand, such as His incarnation and perhaps the movement of the Holy Spirit.