Academic journal article Anglican Theological Review

Pannenberg on the Triune God

Academic journal article Anglican Theological Review

Pannenberg on the Triune God

Article excerpt

Pannenberg on the Triune God. By Iain Taylor. New York: T&T Clark, 2007. viii + 225 pp. $130.00 (cloth).

The final volume of Wolfhart Pannenberg's three-part Systematic Theology was published in English in 1997, the culmination of a long theological career in which Pannenberg has written on all the major theological loci. The Systematic Theology, therefore, allows for a study of the inner coherence of his theological project. Iain Taylor's study argues that the integrity of Pannenberg's systematic work is bound up xvith his desire to infonn dogmatics with a doctrine of God "more thoroughly Trinitarian"" (p. 1) than any known to him. Taylor's lucid and engaging book pushes the questions of what exactly this has meant in the details of the Systematic Theology and to what extent Pannenberg has met his goal.

A "thoroughly Trinitarian" theology proves its claim in fulfilling two tasks: a doctrine of God in which trinitarianism is not compromised by persisting traces of modalism or unitarianism; and an exposition of the other doctrinal topics in which the confession of God as Father, Son. and Spirit is determinative throughout. Punnenberg's treatment of the differentiation of Father and Son in terms of "self-distruction" is a good example of his tackling both diese tasks. Taylor's exposition of this move is particularly fine. Without dismissing the importance of relations of origin within the Trinity. Pannenberg argues that only a corresponding stress on the activity of Son and Spirit towanl the Father does justice to the relations narrated in Scripture. Thus, the Father begets the Son who. as his proper action, distinguishes himself from the Father as the ground of his self-offering to the Father in the Spirit. This immanent relationship has its economic realization in Jesus" way of obedience and sell-giving. The Son's sell-distinction Pannenberg then recognizes as the ontological basis of the distinction of creation from Creator. God the Son gives the creation its own integrity and independence, which is the necessary form of the creature's love for God, as a sharing in the relationship of Father and Son. …

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