Thursday, August 02, 2007

Discussing the Trinity with Halden

I thought that I would take this opportunity to point you toward a conversation that Halden D. and I have been having in the comments section of at his blog, Inhabitatio Dei. He posted about the Westminster confession, I responded, and things went from there. At this point it seems that Halden and I have come to something -like- a consensus, but others may succeed in stirring the waters again. In any case, be sure to check it out.

Here is a statement of the doctrine of the Trinity in a nutshell that I developed in that comments section:
There is one divine life (ousia / essence) that is structured or characterized by three-fold communion (persones / hypostases). There is one will / locus of consciousness / personhood, with three forms or modes of being / activity. These forms are radically perichoretic, which means that the divinity of each is equal to that of the whole. The three forms are distinguished only by the unique combinations of their mutual relationships. One God existing eternally in the communion of his three-fold life.

8 comments:

bobby grow said...

I don't have a problem with your articulation. You and Halden seem to be "arguing" over semantics: i.e. modes and persons, and nothing to substantive relative to your actual perspectives on the tri-unity of God. Good statement.

WTM said...

Thanks for stopping by, Bobby. Yeah, Halden and I got pretty specific about a few things, but that's what theologians are for - especially theological students!

bobby grow said...

Although I must say, I like the language of "persons" better than "modes"; just because of the connotations surrounding the language of "modes" as it conjures thoughts of modalism . . . although I realize Barth used modes in an orthodox way.

bobby grow said...

Yeah I was a formal theological student, once, now I've graduated onto greener pastures; actually I hope to once again become a formal theological student . . . do you have any extra money laying around ;~)?

Aric Clark said...

I have to say, I'm attached to "persons" because I prefer using relational language. I bend toward social trinitarianism, knowing that it can lead to tri-theism, but preferring all the same the beauty and simplicity of the divine dance, to more psychological models.

WTM said...

Aric,

I'm not sure what you mean with reference to 'psychological models'. Would you be so kind to enlighten me? All I can come up with is that it is a reference to Augustine, in which case I still fail to understand.

The social Trinitarian tack is very popular these days. You will see in Halden's thread some of the problems I have with it, specifically with reference to Gunton whom I take to be its best proponent.

Aric Clark said...

I am not well enough read to pull out a single theologian as a flagship example of what I mean by a "psychological model" of the trinity, however, my observation has been that some people prefer to talk about the trinity as three different aspects of God's personality, rather than describing them as separate actors in the drama. When Jesus and the Holy Spirit are basically roles that God assumes it is a stronger representation of the unity of the trinity in some regards, but it sacrifices the individuality of the persons and makes statements like "God raised Jesus Christ from the dead by the power of the Holy Spirit" basically unintelligible.

WTM said...

Ah. I see what you mean. However, I think there is a problem on both sides that you mention. What you are calling 'psychological' sounds an aweful lot like modalism, and when you talk about three actors in the drama of salvation you sound aweful tritheistic. The truth is somewhere between these thing. That is why I talk about three-fold structure of the divine life and three forms of being or activity within that one divine life.

In doing this I am not saying that there is one God who assumes different ways of acting, but that the life of the one God is differentiated within itself in terms of these forms. There is no one-ness without these three and no three-ness without this one.