I don’t want to get into Filioquist metaphysics. Confessionally, I am a Protestant and that means I am in the Filioque tradition. So let’s get this out of the way up front: do I hold to the Filioque? I think later Protestant thinkers, in terms of seeing it in Speech-Act format, perhaps have the resources to constructively engage this debate. But if we are asking do I hold to the Filioque in terms of Augustine, Thomas, and the 4th Lateran Council, the answer is absolutely not. It is dialectics.
I want to thank Jay Dyer for doing the leg work on this. Here is the problem: if you say that the Holy Spirit is from the Father’s (and Son’s) will, you are an Arian. Or so St Athanasius says:
Hence the Son, not being (for He existed at the will of the Father), is God Only-begotten , and He is alien from either. Wisdom existed as Wisdom by the will of the Wise God. (De Synodis).
That’s straightfoward enough. Arian theology says that the Son is a product of the Father’s will (and presumably, the Holy Spirit is a product of the Son’s). But here is what Western theology states:
Ludwig Ott: “The Holy Ghost proceeds from the will or the mutual love of the Father and Son.” (Sent. certa.).
Augustine: “But if any person in the Trinity is also to be specially called the will of God, this name, like love, is better suited to the Holy Spirit; for what else is love, except will?” (De Trinitate, Schaff edition, p.234).
Here a person of the Trinity is identified with the operation or attribute of God. The Filioquist can get out of this by saying Augustine is saying that the Holy Spirit *is* (=?) the will of the Father, not a product of the will of the Father. True, that is a different claim. But if will is a faculty (or operation or function) of essence, then the Holy Spirit is an operation of the essence–and now we are right back at saying he is a product of the essence.