Sunday, April 21, 2013

The Trinity = Speaking truthfully about God from the Biblical evidence

Credo Magazine has dedicated their latest edition to the topic of the Trinity. Here's an excerpt from an interview with Stephen R. Holmes, author of the recent Quest for the Trinity.

You make the argument that the great pro-Nicean defenders of the Trinity, Basil of Casarea and Grego-ry of Nyssa, were more concerned about finding a “grammar” rather than a “logic” for the Trinity. Could you explain the difference and the difference it makes?  
Sure.  By   “grammar”   I   mean   a   set   of   rules   about   how   to   speak   properly—in   the   case   of  the  doctrine  of  the  Trinity,  how  to  speak   truthfully   about   God.   By   “logic”   I   mean   a   coherent   argument   that   demonstrates   that   things   must   be   so.   What   goes   on   in   Basil,   Gregory,  and  the  rest,  it  seems  to  me,  is  an   enormous,   and   astonishingly   impressive,   attempt   to   work   out   what   things   we   must Scripture  can  be  true.  How  can  we  say  “I  and   the  Father  are  one”  and  “the  Father  is  great-­ er  than  I”—not  choosing  between  them,  but   taking  both  claims  with  full  seriousness  as   biblical  revelation?  At  its  root,  the  doctrine   of  the  Trinity  is  an  answer  to  that  question. 
This  means  it  is,  in  a  way,  something  quite   modest.  There  is  much  that  we  do  not  know   about   God’s   life   -­   that’s   hardly   a   surprise,   but   it   is   something   we   need   to   remember.   The  doctrine  of  the  Trinity  is  not  a  full  account  of  who  God  is  that  enables  us  to  build   set  of  rules  about  the  sort  of  ways  we  must   speak  if  our  speech  about  God  is  to  be  faith­ful   to   the   biblical   revelation,  and  so true.
[Bolding mine, weird formatting because of cut and paste job from a PDF.] 


Luke Isham said...

I switched off Google+ commenting so people without a Google profile can comment. Didn't realise that it'd be an exclusive deal!

Radagast said...

I would agree -- perhaps that's why the creeds are to a large extent lists of what NOT to say, e.g. "The Father eternal, the Son eternal, and the Holy Ghost eternal; and yet they are not three eternals; but one eternal."