Open letter to Mike Liccione
I drafted the following as an email to Mike to thank him for his perceptive comment on the thread below, but I thought that others might benefit as well. The following is my missive:
I think I have completely got my head around your use of the spirituque now. It appears that the spirituque actually distinguishes the sense in which the filioque relationship is symmetrical from the sense in which it isn't (i.e., solely referring to the distinction between the persons). Filioque is thereby not intended (in the sense of origin) to convey the least sense of asymmetry in the modes of origin, and that is the work that the spirituque does. The filioque in the "from/not from" sense merely says that the poles of each relation are distinct, and it is not intended to say anything at all beyond that. But if it were mistakenly interpreted to imply that the modes of origin are themselves derivative, as in a subordinationist sense, then the spirituque would head off this misunderstanding. It effectively prevents anyone from thinking that the mere fact of relations connotes more, so that there is a sort of derivative divinity implied in "God from God."
I didn't initially see the point, but after Sceptre's questions, I realized that Patriarch Gregory's view was implicitly taking "origin" equivocally as between persons and divinity. In other words, he considered being the "source" of hypostatic existence and the "source" of ousia to be the same process (origin), just at different levels (personal existence, divine activity). But the whole point of the filoque is that nothing whatsoever is implied about the relations of origin other than the mere fact that there are such relations. Yet it appears that the monarchy of the Father at the theological level is understood to say more in the East than it is in the West, since in the West, it merely affirms that there is one and only one "from/from" term (the Father) without any additional connotations. Thus, you and Weinandy have introduced the spirituque to reinforce that the filioque in the West has none of the connotations of the type of relation that it might carry in the East.
The reason this was a light coming on for me is that the ordinary understanding is that the Latin view is the one that confuses personal origin and energetic procession, because Latin only has one word (processio) for what the Greek describes with two. But in terms of concepts, the Latin view is actually more sophisticated, because the Latin makes distinctions in the sense from (ex) is used that the Greek does not make with ek (as in ekporeusis). Thus, the Latin use of the filioque is not confused with connotations of "ek" that make its analogical use inappropriate (which is why the Greeks refrain from using a theological filioque, making it purely economic). It opens up a conceptual distinction that allows both theological and economic uses of the filioque, which the Greek view cannot allow on account of having a more limited notion of origin/aitia.
It really sunk in for me when I was re-reading sections of the Prima Pars for my discussion with Mark Thomas Lickona. The analysis of "ex" in "creatio ex nihilo" (Q.45, a.1, Obj. 3 and RO 3) drove home the conceptual versatility that St. Thomas has with the idea of "from-ness.":
Further, the preposition "from" [ex] imports relation of some cause, and especially of the material cause; as when we say that a statue is made from brass. But "nothing" cannot be the matter of being, nor in any way its cause. Therefore to create is not to make something from nothing.
When anything is said to be made from nothing, this preposition "from" [ex] does not signify the material cause, but only order; as when we say, "from morning comes midday"--i.e. after morning is midday. But we must understand that this preposition "from" [ex] can comprise the negation implied when I say the word "nothing," or can be included in it. If taken in the first sense, then we affirm the order by stating the relation between what is now and its previous non-existence. But if the negation includes the preposition, then the order is denied, and the sense is, "It is made from nothing--i.e. it is not made from anything"--as if we were to say, "He speaks of nothing," because he does not speak of anything. And this is verified in both ways, when it is said, that anything is made from nothing. But in the first way this preposition "from" [ex] implies order, as has been said in this reply. In the second sense, it imports the material cause, which is denied.
I realized that if one were to strip "from-ness" of ALL its causal connotations, as Thomas did in Q.45 with the association with material cause and Q.44, a.1, RO3 with efficient cause in mathematics, then one would simply arrive at Anselm's "from." So Brandon is wrong in thinking that this is a unmotivated deviation from the Fathers. Rather, it makes explicit the concept that the Fathers were implicitly invoking by refusing to affirm the filioque in terms of hypostatic origin, as Patriarch Gregory pointed out in his Tomus. It helps to make plain the *reasons* that the Fathers did what they did rather than blindly accepting the dogma. I think this could be of real utility in ecumenical discussions.