Chapter 3: Father Principle 141
Chapter 3: Father Principle Thomas Aquinas affirms that the Father is known by his innascibility and by his being a principle of the other divine persons.1 As we have examined the former in chapter 2, we now consider the latter. This chapter will examine ST I, q. 33, a. 1, which considers the Father insofar as he is a principle. We will flesh out the outline suggested by this article, with relevant material from Aquinas’ other works and elsewhere in the Summa Theologiae.2 Our investigation of this article will lead us to reflect on Aquinas’ definition of “principle,” his use of the terms auctor (author) and auctoritas (authority), as well as his understanding of the Father’s personhood being constituted by paternity, the personal property that arises from his being a principle. Our presentation thus unfolds in three parts: I. The Father as a “principle” (ST I, q. 33, a. 1): A. the Father is not a “cause” of the Son and the Holy Spirit (a. 1, corp.; ad 1); B. the Father is “the principle of the whole Godhead” (a. 1, s.c.); C. principiality establishes order but not hierarchy in the Trinity (a. 1, ad 2-3). II. Aquinas’ use of auctor and auctoritas: A. as regards the application of auctor to God, 1. among the divine persons; 2. in the economy; B. concerning divine auctoritas, 1. among the divine persons; 2. in the economy. III. The Father as constituted by his paternity: A. the Father gives birth because he is...
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