Is the Trinity Three Distinct Persons in One?
When we speak of God the Father and his Son born, begotten and so on, we imply that the Father is the origin or source of the Son. Then we say the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father and the Son. Are we also able to say that the Father is the source and origin of the Holy Spirit? I am aware we are trying to express what is inexpressible and eternal. – Carmen Smith
Yes, we can say that the Father is the source and origin of the Holy Spirit, as is implied in John 15:26 where Jesus speaks of the Spirit as issuing from the Father. In fact, scriptural evidence shows that the Father is the source of both Son and Holy Spirit.
The Holy Spirit is not only the Spirit of the Father (Mt 10:20) but also the Spirit of the Son (Gal 4:6; Phil 1:9). A theological grasp of what this means led the Church to develop the doctrine that the Spirit proceeds from the Father and the Son, as we recite in the Creed. Expressed in this way, the oneness of the three distinct Persons in God is emphasised.
The Orthodox Church was not happy with the West’s wording in the Creed that the Spirit proceeds from Father and Son, preferring to stick to the older formula of 381 that the Spirit proceeds from the Father alone. However, Eastern scholars such as St Athanasius in the 4th century spoke of the Spirit as issuing from the Father through the Son, and Orthodoxy seems to hold this as a sound theological opinion, although it is not explicit in their Creed.
However you look at it, the Church’s doctrine is that the one God has revealed himself to us in three distinct expressions of the godhead: the unbegotten Father begets the Son and the intense bond of love between them is the Holy Spirit, a distinct divine Person. Whether the Spirit proceeds from the Father and the Son or from the Father through the Son, Eastern and Western theology can agree that the Spirit proceeds from the Father together with the Son.
With this sketchy background, the simple answer to your question is that the Father is the ultimate source of Son and Spirit, but we must accept that the the Holy Spirit proceeds eternally from the Father and the Son as one principle of origin. Updated from 2011