Deus Trinitas: The Doctrine of the Triune God

Deus Trinitas: The Doctrine of the Triune God

Deus Trinitas: The Doctrine of the Triune God

Deus Trinitas: The Doctrine of the Triune God

Synopsis

Recent years have seen a resurgence of interest in the doctrine of the Trinity, following a long period in which it was considered irrelevant to the rest of theology and to the challenge of Christian life. In this book, David Coffey claims that this resurgence is caused by a renewed appreciation of the fact that salvation itself has a Trinitarian structure. He argues that we cannot understand salvation without a solid understanding of the Trinity. Coffey considers the full range of issues surrounding this central doctrine of Christian faith. Viewing the doctrine of the Trinity in its historical and ecumenical context, he seeks to arrive at a balanced vision that incorporates the insights of both the Western and the Eastern Churches. In particular, he wants to keep in sight both the immanent Trinity (the Godhead considered in itself) and the economic Trinity (that is, its role within the economy of salvation). In Coffeys own model of the Trinity, the Holy Spirit is seen as the objectivization of the mutual love of the Father and the Son. This idea is most closely associated with St. Augustine and Richard of St. Victor. Coffey, however, takes it much further, presenting it as an explanation of the origin of the Son and the Holy Spirit and of the manner of operation of the Trinity in the economy. From this model, he is also able to derive a suggestion for resolving the ecumenical problem of Filioquism vs. Monopatrism (concerning the procession of the Holy Spirit)-- the issue that has divided East from West for nearly a millennium. Presenting a new perspective on a topic of renewed theological interest, this comprehensive study has important implications for ecumenical discussions of the Trinity.

Excerpt

My reflections thus far have resulted in two biblical models of the Trinity, which I have called the mission model and the return model. These in turn have led us to two corresponding models of the immanent Trinity, the procession or distinction model and the return or union model. In this chapter I reflect further on these models of the immanent Trinity in the hope that by continued comparison and contrast I shall be able in some measure to clarify certain issues that in the past have proved difficult and controversial. While doing this I bear in mind that, while the exercise is in a sense an end in itself, it does have a further and arguably more important end, namely, to enable us to return to the biblical data to appropriate them in a new way, a way that will be ontological rather than merely functional, and reflective rather than simplistic or fundamentalist. In what follows, for the sake of convenience certain words will be used that of themselves indicate a time sequence, for example, "then," "next," and so on. In every case, as so often elsewhere in this book, it will be a sequence of logical order, not of time, that is meant.

The procession model, dealing as it does with the outward movement of God to the world and therefore with his first contact with it in his self-revelation as triune (granted that before being revealed as triune he already stood revealed as having created the world and as being at work within it), necessarily presents a view of the Trinity as it were ab extra, "from the outside." This has an undeniable status as a revelation of the Trinity, but it is the very first revelation of it. While indispensable, it pales alongside the possibility of a further revelation, which we immediately affirm also as a fact, the revelation of the Trinity ab intra, "from the inside." This is where the return model begins to apply, for its work is precisely to chart the process by which, having first been contacted by God ab extra in the encounter of initial trinitarian revelation, we are led back, through our response, into God's innermost being, that is, by the Holy Spirit, through the Son, to the Father. As soon as we begin by faith to respond to this contact from outside-we are drawn across the invisible line that divides outside from inside and we begin to live, by participation (not by nature), by the inner trinitarian life of God. From the inside much more can be seen and . . .

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.