Calling Upon God as *Father*

These are notes from Fr. John Behr’s essay in Orthodox Readings of Augustine

Should the term “God” be applied to each Person singly, or to the Trinity together (159)?

The tradition affirmed that the one God is Father (161).  Christ is the Son and power and wisdom of God.   The monarchy of the Trinity is the monarchy of the one God as Father, the Father of an eternally present Son, consubstantial with him, and the Spirit who proceeds from him, apart from whom he cannot be addressed (162).

Behr goes on,

The usual Greek idiom is to speak of ho theos kai pater (the God and Father), the Son of God or the Word of God and the Spirit of God.  In each case the referent for the term “God” is clear: the one of whom Jesus is the Son and Word, as fully divine as the Father so that he can also be called upon as God (163).

To speak of the “triune God” sounds modalist.

While “Augustine vs. the East’ paradigms aren’t helpful, one must grant that there are differences in speaking about God.   “It is rather the difference between starting from God as Father, and beginning with the Father, Son, and Spirit who are each, and together, one God” (163).

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