In order to contextualize the question I add the following quote from the wikipedia article concerning Filioque clause:

Filioque, Latin for "and (from) the Son", is a phrase found in the form of Nicene Creed in use in the Latin Church. It is not present in the Greek text of the Nicene Creed as originally formulated at the First Council of Constantinople, which says only that the Holy Spirit proceeds "from the Father"

I've been reading about this issue and cannot find a clear biblical basis either for or against the Filioque clause. However, I think there are some verses that can be applied either for or against.

For example, John 20:22 can be applied for by saying that the Spirit is proceeding from Christ. On the other hand, it can be applied against by saying that the Spirit is actually proceeding from the Father but through the Son.

For that reason I am asking if somebody knows more biblical arguments for and against the Filioque.

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    Without the filioque, it is a direct quote from John 15:26. Even the Catholics acknowledge the theology is wrong by adding it in the Greek and Latin texts (to the extent of even encouraging Byzantine Catholics to omit it): en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Filioque#Catholicism
    – Dan
    Commented Oct 2, 2013 at 16:44
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    Asking for both positions on a question like this makes it too broad I think.
    – curiousdannii
    Commented Apr 6, 2015 at 11:19

2 Answers 2


So Jesus sent the Holy Spirit:

John 15:26 NIV 26“When the Advocate comes, whom I will send to you from the Father—the Spirit of truth who goes out from the Father—he will testify about me.

And here you see that Jesus needs to go away before the Holy Spirit can come:

John 16:7 NIV 7But very truly I tell you, it is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Advocate will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you.

Jesus received the Holy Spirit from God the Father and then gave it to us:

Acts 2:32-33 NIV 32God has raised this Jesus to life, and we are all witnesses of it. 33Exalted to the right hand of God, he has received from the Father the promised Holy Spirit and has poured out what you now see and hear.

And here the Holy Spirit came to us through Christ:

Titus 3:5-7 NIV 5he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, 6whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, 7so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life.

So, some of the early fathers, such as Augustine, took these and other threads, and started to weave a tapestry, to make it into a coherent belief.

So the Holy Spirit came from the Father and the Son.


You have in James Black's answer the standard Roman Catholic view of the filioque. To understand the Orthodox objection to it, consider the difference between eternal and temporal procession of the Holy Spirit.

The Orthodox doctrine of the Trinity regards the eternal relations between the members of the Trinity: God the Son is eternally begotten by the Father, and God the Holy Spirit eternally proceeds from the Father. God the Father is the ultimate source of the Son and the Spirit, though the three coexist eternally.

The filioque can be understood in an orthodox manner if it is taken to refer to the temporal procession of the Holy Spirit from Jesus Christ to the apostles. If it is taken to refer to the eternal procession of the Holy Spirit, then there are a couple of objections:

  • It makes the Father and the Son both eternal sources. In Orthodox theology, two sources within the Godhead would be equivalent to having two gods, an obvious heresy.
  • The Orthodox believe that traits of the Godhead are either shared by all three, or are particular to one. The filioque (if referring to eternal procession) would make this procession common to the Father and the Son but not the Holy Spirit. As a trait shared by two of the Three, it would distort the unity and balance inherent to the Holy Trinity.

In addition to the theological problems, there's a canonical problem. The filioque was added to the Nicene Creed unilaterally by the West without gaining the consent of the whole Church. The Orthodox believe that only an ecumenical council can alter the Creed shared by the whole Church.

For more reading on the Orthodox view of the filioque, see this page, which has an article as well as links to other reading materials: Filioque (OrthodoxWiki)

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    Your statement "It makes the Father and the Son both eternal sources. In Orthodox theology, two sources within the Godhead would be equivalent to having two gods, an obvious heresy." The implication from this statement is that the (Eastern) Orthodox position is equivalent to Arianism (The Father is God, but the Son is not). I know that this would be an incorrect interpretation at odds with Orthodox doctrine, but you have expressed yourself poorly here. Commented May 26, 2014 at 7:52
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    Futher, the essence of the statement (if it was actually possible to reconstruct it in a non-heretical fashion - which I doubt) is incorrect as well as each person of the Trinity is an eternal source of love for each other otherwise they would not be One. Commented May 26, 2014 at 7:56
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    Your third paragraph contains an entirely valid objection to the adding of the filoque to the Nicene creed (and I entirely agree with it), but it is off-topic in regards to the OP as is your entire answer - you nowhere address biblical basis Commented May 26, 2014 at 8:04
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    @bruisedreed, (a) as for the biblical basis, the other answer gave it: John 15:26. It could scarcely be more straightforward. (b) You're putting words in my mouth and then disagreeing with those words, which is impolite to say the least.
    – Kyralessa
    Commented May 26, 2014 at 16:13
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    I see your point and withdraw my second comment with an apology as it's poorly worded to imply that the statement referred to is representative of Orthodox doctrine as opposed to the heretical consequence from an Orthodox view if the filioque is maintained. It should have read "the essence of this implication" - referring to the first comment. I don't mean to be offensive, but what I construe from this part of your post is that it implies: 1. The Father is the only eternal source 2. Eternal source is equivalent to god => 3. The Son can not therefore be god. How is this misrepresenting you? Commented May 26, 2014 at 16:29

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