Monday, 12 April 2010
Quick Gem From St. Bonaventure
I have been reading 'Apolegetic For Filioque In Medieval Theology' by Dennis Nglen and I really liked a particular quote from Saint Bonaventure. Throughout this book and a previous one I read (Scripture and Metaphysics by another author), the question constantly comes up how one can balance that fact that God is one and three. One has to start conceptually with one or the other, although in the divine Being there is no priority.
The traditional 'Latin approach' is that of essentialism, where one focuses on the shared divine essence, which is a wonderful way to counteract Arianism or other such damnable heresies, yet causes some problems, when a further question is raised. How do we make the distinctions between the three Persons without confusing them or lapsing into a form of modalism or Sabellianism?
The 'Greek approach' tends to be personalism, where the distinct Persons are highlighted (usually the Father as the source of the Deity first), the First Person brings about then the divine essence. Another concern arises where it seems that the Father is supreme and greater than the Son and Spirit. Or what exactly do they have in common?
So on to the Seraphic Doctor:
''By these Cherubim (facing each other on the top of the Ark of the Covenant)we understand the two modes or stages of contemplating the insivible and eternal things of God: one is concerned with the essential attributes of God and the other with those proper to the Persons.''