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Personhood: Will

The Person: Thought article discussed the relationship between our intellect and our thoughts. We noted that our intellect gives rise to our thoughts.  We discussed the fact that our thoughts are changing and often disappear with time. We observed that our thoughts are many and varied and that our thoughts are not the same thing as our personhood.  Our human thoughts are an activity of our minds, and they are not the very essence of our humanness. 

We then asked, what would be the case for an infinite and omniscient Being whose thoughts (more properly, 'thought', or 'word') were always present to itself and whose thoughts never changed?  We concluded that those thoughts would then be of the essence of the divine Being. We noted there was an analogous relationship between the human intellect and the human thought and that between the divine Mind and the divine Word. This is because the divine Self knows the divine Word. In John's gospel chapter one, the Logos (the Word, Al-Kalima)  is a singular word denoting the unity of the thought in the mind of Allah. Human thoughts are fragmented and varied. So, it is actually improper to speak of the Son with the name, Thoughts, because it is a plural word. Rather, the term, Al-Kalima, should be used to express the divine unity of the knowledge and mind of Allah. 

The Al-Kalima is Allah, is with Allah, and is co_eternal with Allah. 

We cannot imagine an All-Knowing Allah who does not have an immutable Mind and an immutable Word. Since the Mind and the Word are the same identical essence; and, since the Mind generates its Word, the Mind is called Father, and the Word is called Son.  Just as it is necessary for an All-Knowing Allah to have a Mind and a Word, likewise, it is necessary for both the Father and the Son to exist equally and essentially.  Knowledge requires both a Knower and a Known. Since Allah has knowledge of Himself, Allah must be both the Knower and the Known. Finally, the begotten Son relationship within Allah is co-eternal and consubstantial with the unbegotten Father relationship within Allah.

Let’s return again to our own personhood. We noted that persons have intellect and will. We have already discussed the relationship between the intellect and what the intellect knows. Now, we need to discuss the relationship between the will and what the will desires or loves. As human beings, we know that our will loves different things at different times. The object of our will changes and new desires emerge into our consciousness. Again, in one sense, what we love seems intimately related to what we are as persons.  But, since the object of our will changes, what our will wills vary with time.  Hence, the love of our will cannot be the same thing as our person, because, if it were, as our love diminished, our personhood would diminish too.

Again, we ask, what would be the case, if the object of our will never changed and its love for that object included everything that we ever loved? In the Divine Will, the ‘love’ of Allah is immutably constant and ever present in the essence of Allah. Therefore, the love of the divine Will is of the essence of Allah, since the divine love is immutably and eternally the same. For love to exist in the essence of Allah, there has to be a subsisting eternal relationship within Allah of a Lover and One who is Beloved. Something is necessary to bind the Lover and the Beloved together. Love is that which proceeds from the Lover and from the Beloved. Thus, there is a divine subsisting relationship in the essence of Allah of one who ‘proceeds’ or is a ‘procession’ of love from the Father and from the Son.

"...the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father..." John 15:26

"And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father.’ Gal 4:6

Chapter two of the Westminster Confession of Faith states that the Holy Ghost proceeds from the Father and the Son.

"III. In the unity of the Godhead there be three Persons of one substance, power, and eternity: God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost. The Father is of none, neither begotten nor proceeding; the Son is eternally begotten of the Father; the Holy Ghost eternally proceeding from the Father and the Son."

In part One, Question 27, Article 3 of the Summa Theologica, Thomas Aquinas stated,

"In evidence whereof we must observe that procession exists in God, only according to an action which does not tend to anything external, but remains in the agent itself. Such an action in an intellectual nature is that of the intellect, and of the will. The procession of the Word is by way of an intelligible operation. The operation of the will within ourselves involves also another procession, that of love, whereby the object loved is in the lover; as, by the conception of the word, the object spoken of or understood is in the intelligent agent. Hence, besides the procession of the Word in God, there exists in Him another procession called the procession of love."

St. Thomas Aquinas noted that the relationship of procession is not an extrinsic relationship.  He wrote, "we must observe that procession exists in God, only according to an action which does not tend to anything external, but remains in the agent itself."   Why is this?  Basically, the Trinity describes the nature of the personhood of God itself.  This means that the Trinity pre-existed the creation of the universe.  Before creation, the only existent was Allah.  So, the only type of pre-creation processions available were relationships within Deity itself.  Hence, the processions were intrinsic to Deity itself.  For example, the mind's intellect has an intrinsic relationship to its own intelligible thought.  The mind's will has an intrinsic relationship of love to its object of love.

So, what binds the Lover (Father, Intellect) and the Beloved (Son, Word) is the subsisting relationship of Love (Will) between the Father and the Son. This Love is called the Holy Spirit. The three Persons of the Godhead are consubstantially the one divine essence.

So, the Holy Trinity of Persons is the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit in the One divine essence called Allah.  These divine persons teach us about the personhood of Deity.  The doctrine of the Trinity gives us insight into the nature of the mind, thought, and love of All-Mighty Allah.  The personhood of Allah has to be different from human personhood because Al-Kalima, the Word, and the Love of Allah never change like the changeable thoughts and loves of human beings.   

For there to be a Spirit of love in the One Eternal Allah, there must be an eternal Father and an eternal Son.  Love requires a Lover, a Beloved, and a uniting Love itself.  In book IX, Chapter 4 of his book 'On the Trinity,' St. Augustine affirmed this concept when he wrote,

But as there are two things (duo quaedam), the mind and the love of it, when it loves itself; so there are two things, the mind and the knowledge of it, when it knows itself, Therefore the mind itself, and the love of it, and the knowledge of it, are three things (tria quaedam), and these three are one; and when they are perfect they are equal.

Last edited 12/20/1999

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