Others indwell our lives; therefore we ought to open our lives hospitably to them. We indwell the lives of others; therefore, we ought to see others not as obstacles to our plots and projects but as potential homes in which we can dwell together. A world of mutual [indwelling] implies an ethic of hospitality, welcome, invitation, companionship, centered on a common table.
Likewise, our conception of holiness should be undergirded by a Trinitarian framework. To demonstrate this, Leithart first establishes the biblical understanding of holiness. If we define holiness in biblical terms, holiness has to do with indwelling and possession.
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- BBC - Religions - Christianity: The Trinity?
God consecrates persons and places and things by coming near to them and indwelling them in glory. God comes into the tabernacle and indwells the tabernacle. He is enthroned above the Cherubim in the most holy place, and he consecrates the tent by His presence. He claims places as his peculiar places by indwelling them in his glory. But when we think about the Trinity as a holy communion, then we can see that indwelling is essential to their holiness. The Father is holy because he is indwelt by the Spirit and by the Son.
The Spirit is holy because he is indwelt by the Father and the Son. The three persons consecrate each other in a communion of holiness. When some Christians hear that, their skin crawls. Is the creator of the universe really that egotistical—really that insecure —that he has to create an entire species to satisfy his hunger for worship?
Leithart is sensitive to this objection—and says that a robust understanding of the Trinity can overcome it. That objection comes from not recognizing that the God who seeks all glory for himself is not a single entity who is sucking the glory from everything, but a communion of persons, a communion of mutually glorifying persons. Jesus, at the beginning of his high priestly prayer, speaks of the glory with which the Father has glorified him, and he declares his intention to glorify the Father. Within the communion of God, the Father is not seeking glory from the Son; he is glorifying the Son.
The Son is not seeking glory for himself, but he is seeking the glory of his Father. And the Spirit is not seeking glory for himself, but he is glorifying the Father and the Son, or he is the glory that glorifies the Father and the Son. When we think about God as a God who glorifies himself within a Trinitarian context, we can see that there is a mutual glorification going on, and God is not selfish.
No person of God is selfish. But within God, there is this humility and self-sacrifice for the sake and for the glory of the other. The doctrine of the Trinity can be daunting to describe, but its rewards are equally grand. When we glimpse the beauty of this teaching—not in spite of, but because of its rich complexity—its implications stretch before us in ever-widening circles: from the very reason for our existence, to the way we live our lives, to the way we treat one another, and even to the way we relate to other religions and worldviews.
Learn more about the Trinity, the sacraments, and hermeneutics straight from Peter Leithart himself. Learn more about the bundle and pre-order while you still can! Good thoughts, Brian. Thanks for sharing your thoughts! Your first two arguments presupposes a weak, impotent god. My God is almighty. I am sorry, but if I were sitting in your class I would have to stand up and proclaim the same thing. How can you put such restrictions on the Creator and Sustainer? My God could be only One, but He chose to be Three in order that He could interact and redeem you and me.
But given even that, I still have problems with your first two arguments because they are based upon narrow, obscure definitions. Are you really trying to argue that a unitarian god could not love those he created? Are you really trying to argue that there is no love nor righteousness possible in a unitarian god? I know my God is Trinitarian and there is no other. But I would never restrict His capability!
Not for one minute would do that, not even to say that the gods others worship are false because they are not like mine. There are plenty of other attributes of our God you could focus on to prove your point rather than limiting His capabilities. Just my humble opinion. Other than the first arguments, I agreed with and enjoyed your article.
What do Christians mean when they say that God is three persons in one essence?
May God bless you in all your endeavors. Thanks for your thoughts, Sam. I think most theologians would limit omnipotence to the logically coherent. If God is one person and not three, then there was a time in which he did not love—since no beings were in existence for him to love.
What Is the Doctrine of the Trinity?
Therefore, a unitarian God could not be eternally loving. This is how God has revealed Himself to us in the Bible. God is love, love is both given and received between the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. God is complete in His love because He is Triune. A unitarian god cannot love without a recipient.
A unitarian god must create to complete his love.
Threeness may be deduced, but it is certainly not a necessary inference. Threeness is not explicitly claimed in scripture, so I do not rest there, either.
A Formulation and Defense of the Doctrine of the Trinity
It may be healthy to speculate on the nature and constitution of God; it is not healthy to try to nail him down to a human number. How can God be other than He is? The trinitarian doctrine affirms that there is only one God, expressed in three unique Persons who share the same divine reality. This doctrine has always challenged the attention and devotion of Christians. Even our frustration to understand it invites us to enter more fully into this incomprehensible divine mystery.
This same effort has often caused dissension during the history of the Church. In the East, attention was focused on the differences that characterized the three divine Persons and their relationships. The differences were traced to their different origins. The Father is ungenerated has no origin ; the Son is generated from the Father; and the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father through the Son.
In the West, attention was focused on the unity of the Persons. This western doctrine was first included in the Nicene Creed when a local council added the Filioque clause in CE. They thought it was important to stress the Father as a single source of divinity in the Godhead. The Eastern creeds expressed this single-source view by saying that the Spirit proceeded from the Father alone.
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The Filioque clause has been both a cause and a sign of division between the Eastern and Western churches ever since. Theologians continue to study this issue in the hope of arriving at a theological explanation that will no longer be divisive to these Christian traditions. The feast day of the Trinity developed in the 10th century. It was popularized in England by Thomas Becket who was consecrated archbishop of Canterbury on Trinity Sunday in The feast was made universal in the Western Church in the 14th century. Living the Good News is an online lectionary-based curriculum published by Morehouse Education Resources.
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