A brilliant and accessible introduction to Trinitarian thought. Colin Gunton argues that the theology of the Trinity has profound implications for all dimensions of human life. Central to his work is his argument that the doctrine should offer ways of articulating the being of God and of the world so that we may be better able to live before God and with each other.
“At the heart of the doctrine that being is communion are four central concepts: person, relation, otherness and freedom.” (Page 11)
“God is being in communion. ‘The substance of God, ‘God’, has no ontological content, no true being, apart from communion.’” (Page 9)
“God is no more than what Father, Son and Spirit give to and receive from each other in the inseparable communion that is the outcome of their love. Communion is the meaning of the word: there is no ‘being’ of God other than this dynamic of persons in relation. The charge against Augustine and many of his Western successors is that because he failed to appropriate the ontological achievement of his Eastern colleagues he allowed the insidious return of a Hellenism, in which being is not communion, but something underlying it.” (Page 10)
“The desynonymising of ousia and hypostasis, which previously had meant the same—being or substance—made possible the distinction and yet holding together of the unity and plurality of God. God is indeed one in being: there is only one God. But this very oneness is not a mathematical oneness, as Arius and Greek theology had taught, but a oneness consisting in the inseparable relation of Father, Son and Spirit, the three hypostases.” (Page 10)
“The person is neither an individual, defined in terms of separateness from others, nor one who is swallowed up into the collective. Just as Father, Son and Spirit are what they are by virtue of their otherness-in-relation, so that each particular is unique and absolutely necessary to the being of the whole, so it is, in its own way, for our being in society.” (Page 13)
One of the most perceptive and important theological books to appear in the last few years.
—Church of England Newspaper
Clear, enlightening, brilliant.
A very stimulating and suggestive account of the potential richness of Trinitarian theology.
The best example I know of creative retrieval of the classical Christian doctrine of God for the Christian community today. It is a major contribution to the contemporary Christian church’s theology of God.
—Anglican Theological Review