Magazine article First Things; A Monthly Journal of Religion and Public Life

Traces of the Trinity: Signs of God in Creation and Human Experience

Magazine article First Things; A Monthly Journal of Religion and Public Life

Traces of the Trinity: Signs of God in Creation and Human Experience

Article excerpt

Traces of the Trinity: Signs of God in Creation and Human Experience BY PETER J. LEITHART BRAZOS, 176 PAGES, $17.99

Some people think with protractors and T-squares. Every thought is constructed with sharp cuts, and thoughts are combined at right angles. Clear thought depends on the sharpest and most inviolable distinctions and boundaries between things and ideas." This is all well and good, Peter Leithart tells us. More than that-it is clearly an instinct of the human mind, with a long history. Consider the boundaries between the sacred and the profane in the ancient world, or Plato's metaphysics, or the clear distinctions that Descartes uses as the building blocks of everything we can know. Clarity and comprehensiveness can also be beautiful. Think Thomas Aquinas's Summa Theologica.

But in Traces of the Trinity, Leithart invites us not to stop there-"drawing lines and making distinctions," he says, "is only the beginning of engagement with reality." Leithart argues that our thinking about reality can, and in fact should, follow the weaving pattern of what theologians call "perichoresis," that is, the "mutual indwelling" or "reciprocal penetration" that describes the relationship between the persons of the Trinity. "We should learn to think in folds, in curves and Mobius strips, because the supple imagination follows the folded ... contours of the world we live in."

So we ought to learn to think in folds and curves, just as we ought to learn to recognize the folds and curves of the reality around us. …

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