Discussing the filioque, Coakley ( God, Sexuality, and the Self: An Essay ‘On the Trinity’ , 332-3) argues that the only Sonship in the Trinity is the one “sourced” by the Father in the Spirit . This formulation reinforces the mutually constituting character of the Persons:

“We would not only need to speak . . . of the Son eternally coming forth from the Father ‘in’ or ‘by’ the Spirit (rather than the Spirit proceeding from the Father merely ‘and,’ or ‘through,’ the Son . . . ); but, more daringly, we would also need to speak of the Father’s own reception back of his status as ‘source’ from the other two ‘persons,’ precisely via the Spirit’s reflexive propulsion and the Son’s creative effulgence.”

Just so, but I think that Coakley is wrong to add that in God is “a ‘source’ of love unlike any other, giving and receiving and ecstatically deflecting, ever and always.” In the fact that it is eternal, Triune love is unique. But it is not unique “structurally,” for love is always and ever giving and receiving and ecstatically deflecting. Receptive giving is the only sort of human love there could possibly be.

Articles by Peter J. Leithart

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