The Thought of Thomas Aquinas

By Brian Davies | Go to book overview

10 The Eternal Triangle

Christianity takes its name from Christ. So one might naturally suppose that the heart of Christian doctrine should lie in Christology—as it seems to do in the New Testament. But Christology has a doctrinal background even in the New Testament, and, when it came to be formulated in creeds and symbols of faith, it was finally located in the context of the doctrine of the Trinity—the belief that God, though one, is also somehow three. For this reason one can say that the key Christian doctrine is that of the Trinity. At any rate, this is how Aquinas sees things. He thinks that Christian teaching is certainly about Christ. But he does not think that it is just about Christ or primarily about Christ. For him, the heart of Christian teaching is the doctrine of the Trinity, which is the first specifically Christian topic he turns to in the Summa theologiae. 'After discussing the unity of God's nature', he explains, 'it remains for us to discuss the trinity of persons in God.' 1 Historically speaking, Aquinas is one of the most important writers on the doctrine of the Trinity.


Aquinas and the Doctrine of the Trinity

For a classical statement of the doctrine of the Trinity we could refer to the creed promulgated by the First General Council of Constantinople (381), which reaffirms the teaching of the Council of Nicaea (325), and which adds that the Holy Spirit is 'the Lord and Giver of life who proceeds from the Father, who together with the Father and the Son is worshipped and glorified'. 2 For a more systematic statement, however, we can cite the so-called Creed of Athanasius, a document produced some time after the middle of the fifth century

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The Thought of Thomas Aquinas
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • The Thought of Thomas Aquinas iii
  • Preface vii
  • Acknowledgements xi
  • Contents xiii
  • Abbreviations xvi
  • 1: The Shape of a Saint 1
  • 2: Getting to God 21
  • 3: What God is Not 40
  • 4: Talking About God 58
  • 5: Perfection and Goodness 80
  • 6: Ubiquity to Eternity 98
  • 7: Oneness to Knowledge 118
  • 8: Will to Mercy 139
  • 9: Providence and Freedom 158
  • 10: The Eternal Triangle 185
  • 11: Being Human 207
  • 12: How to Be Happy 227
  • 13: How to Be Holy 250
  • 14: The Heart of Grace 274
  • 15: God Incarnate 297
  • 16: The Life and Work of Christ 320
  • 17: Signs and Wonders 345
  • Select Bibliography 377
  • Index 385
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