Friday, October 07, 2005

Trinity study time

I realized very strongly on Tuesday that I need to be studying a bit harder. The question, "Well, what does Athanasius say?" was directed toward the class and I found myself thinking, "I have no idea. I know I read it, but I have no idea."

oops. So today at work, I'm going through my notes, and this post will really be just for the purpose of "writing down" a few things, especially any cool points Fr. made.

The problem with Rahner's "On the Trinity" is that he said that the economic Trinity is the immanent Trinity and vice versa. It's the vice versa that causes problems, because the first part is fine- yes, the God in history is the God that exists. But did God express His whole Being in history? Is there nothing left to say? What happens now then? God's being is not welded to the cosmos, He is not totally caught up in history so that He is lost. There is a connection, of course (Romans 1:20), but God is always-greater. ever-greater.

So what does Jesus Christ disclose?
"I am the sent one." He is always in relation to the Father. His mission defines Him, it coincides with Who He is.

*here's where Fr. went off a bit and said some great stuff: human beings always want to be somewhere else- to plan the future. Christ shows His divinity by not anticipating the will of the Father (only the Father knows the hour) Human beings always have the suspicion that the Father is the enemy, and that's why we have to plan things out. Remember, we're always and only in the PRESENT! That's it! Nothing before or behind. And the most evident thing about the present is that we're not making ourselves-- we're being made-- and we resist. We want to break out of time. You can't just pull yourself out of this way of thinking, but Christ shows that the meaning of being a human being is to receive.*

Aquinas: Christ's having a mission coincides with receiving His being in eternal generation. He is defined by receiving Himself. The mission of the Son is the divine procession in history.

Christ talks of God as 3 and as unity. Circumincession, perichoresis...

How do we understand the paradox of one God who is Father, Son, and Spirit?

Look at the 2 philosophical positions that are a background for these questions.
  1. Plotinus teaches that the more perfect a being is, the more it generates. Generation is a perfection of being. The perfect One is a unity overflowing with life. What is generated cannot be itself; it must be something else, something less. That which is generated is less than and extrinsic to the one who generates. The one generates outside itself.
  2. Aristotle posits the Unmoved mover, the principle which remains ignorant of all other things. The universe is co-eternal, so the One doesn't mettle in it.

Now within Christianity:

Arius posits that a distinction in God cannot multiply essences. (There are not 3 Gods) He's trying to correct a couple theories going around:

  • Adoptionism: Jesus is a normal human being and at Baptism He is granted divinity by the Holy Spirit.
  • Modalism: We seem to be dealing with one God who presents Himself in history in 3 different ways. They aren't 3 different persons, just modes or ways of being the same. God's face with 3 expressions... ways God is present to our awareness. Like Sabellianism. Consequence: The Father suffers on the Cross.

Arius is trying to remain faithful to Scripture, defend God's unity, and also affirm the reality of Jesus' suffering and death. Against modalism, he says that the generation of the Son is real- He has a true substantial existence, is not an emanation. The Son is not the Father. When he starts getting in trouble, Arius tries to get out of it through using Scripture to hold that God is one, and that while the Father is ungenerated, all else comes from something else. (Jesus is not equal to the Father)

shoot I didn't get far at all. Lots of work to do!

1 comment:

Nick said...

God is a communion of persons and we are called to manifest our likeness to God through integrity and friendship that images His essence. Where it to be found out that Christ was a fraud, I would never let go over the idea of God as Trinity. Gods very nature reinforces the value I place on tru friendship.