Farewell Discourses

Posted by Thaddaeus.

John 14: 1-12


Jesus said to his disciples: “Do not let your hearts be troubled.  You have faith in God; have faith also in me.  In my Father’s house there are many dwelling places.  If there were not, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you?  And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back again and take you to myself, so that where I am you also may be.  Where I am going you know the way.”  Thomas said to him, “Master, we do not know where you are going; how can we know the way?”  Jesus said to him, I am the way and the truth and the life.  No one comes to the Father except through me.  If you know me, then you will also know my Father.  From now on you do know him and have seen him.”  Philip said to him, “Master, show us the Father, and that will be enough for us.”  Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you for so long a time and you still do not know me, Philip?  Whoever has seen me has seen the Father.  How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’?  Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me?  The words that I speak to you I do not speak on my own.  The Father who dwells in me is doing his works.  Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me, or else, believe because of the works themselves.  Amen, amen, I say to you, whoever believes in me will do the works that I do, and will do greater ones than these, because I am going to the Father.”


Background:  In 325 CE, the Church Fathers gather at the Council of Nicaea to decide the correct theological correlation between the Father and the Son.  They decide that Jesus is homoosious (Gk., “of the same substance”) with the Father.  The Latin translation is consubstantialem (Eng., “consubstantial”).  This literally means that Jesus is “of the same substance” as the Father.  This theological principle is the basis for the new translation of the Roman Missal in 2011.  It used to read that Jesus is “one in being with the Father,”  but “one in being” is not as precise [metaphysically speaking] as “consubstantial.”  Therefore, the Creed now makes it clear, Jesus and the Father are of the same substance.  A substance called God.  In other words, as sons and daughters we are consubstantial with our parents.  A substance called human.  We are not consubstantial with God since we are not of the same substance as God.


The Farewell Discourses:  Yet, the Nicene Creed does not use consubstantial in reference to the Holy Spirit.  Is that an oversight?  Is the Holy Spirit consubstantial with the Father and the Son?  Of course.  The Holy Spirit is the Lord and Giver of life and was not the subject of the Arian Heresy, which the Church Fathers gather to clarify at the Council of Nicaea. This has more to do with the historical development of the Nicene Creed.  The nature of the Holy Spirit was not in question; rather the nature of Jesus was in question.  Arian Heresy professed that Jesus was more than a man, but less than a God.  Not co-essential with the Father and not co-eternal among other things.  Conversely, we believe the Son of God exists from before all ages.  He became Incarnate and took on a human nature through Mary, the Mother of God, according to His Manhood.  By the nature of His Manhood, Jesus becomes consubstantial with mankind.