The Filioque Controversy
In past articles on the Trinity, we defined relational subordination as the view that each member of the Godhead has different roles and/or responsibilities. For example, Christ has the responsibility of creation while the Holy Spirit has the duty of illumination. With that said, the specific work of one member of the Trinity can be ascribed to either of the others. Colossians 1:16 and John 5:22 teach that God the Son is responsible for creation and judgment respectively, while Genesis 1:1 and Hebrews 12:23 shows that God the Father accomplishes these tasks.
The one exception to attributing the work of one member of the Godhead to one of the others is the doctrine of Christ and the Holy Sprit being sent by God the Father. The Father sent the Son but it cannot be said that the Son or the Holy Spirit send the Father. This brings us to the filioque controversy.
The filioque controversy tries to answer the question, “From whom did the Holy Spirit proceed; from the Father, from the Son, or from both the Father and Son?”
John 15:26 states, “But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me:”
This verse teaches double procession. The Father and Son sent the Holy Spirit. The word filioque means “and son” in Latin. The fact that the Spirit proceeds from both the Father and Son does not in any way negate the deity of the third person of the Godhead. The filioque controversy, like the Trinity, involves concepts of God that human reasoning can never fully grasp. What a wonderful and magnificent God we serve!