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Doctrine of god

Doctrine of god. Orientation and introduction. Orientation. Reading in Kärkkäinen T he Trinity as the hermeneutical lens through which all the other doctrines are understood Karl Barth Stanley Grenz Wolfhart Pannenberg. Contemporary situation.

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Doctrine of god

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  1. Doctrine of god Orientation and introduction

  2. Orientation • Reading in Kärkkäinen • The Trinity as the hermeneutical lens through which all the other doctrines are understood • Karl Barth • Stanley Grenz • WolfhartPannenberg

  3. Contemporary situation • How can we speak about God in today’s culture in any meaningful way? • Different questions about God at different times: • Biblical times • Modern times • Postmodern times • Modern secular culture • God as a subjective decision/experience • Awareness of God • Contextual challenges • Can we believe in God after Auschwitz?

  4. The Trinitarian god • A Word about Methodology

  5. The Trinitarian God • God as Persons and Personal • Personal context for key biblical ideas • Love • Faith • Covenant • God is not a philosophical abstraction • Who God is in Godself is who God truly is for us • Encounter • Martin Buber • Existence as encounter

  6. Dialogical personalism: Martin buber (1878-1965) • “I Become through my relation to the Thou; as I become I, I say Thou. All real living is meeting” • “The basic word I-Thou can be spoken only with one’s whole being. The concentration and fusion into a whole being can never be accomplished by me, can never be accomplished without me. I require a Thou to become; becoming I, I say Thou. Al actual life is encounter” -Martin Buber, I and Thou

  7. God as personal: martin buber • Relation as Fundamental to Being • I-Thou vs. I-It Relations • God as the eternal Thou

  8. God as personal: martin buber • Initiative and Control • Difference between knowing about someone and knowing someone • In the I-Thou, the I is knownby the Thou • Implications • Knowing about God is not enough • As a Thou, God’s presence cannot be reduced to content • The relationship is real although is has no content in itself • Emil Bruner, Truth as Encounter • We are dependent on God’s address to us to realize the Self; God’s initiative, we respond • See Noel Leo Erskine’s article • God’s revelation is not just about content, but self-disclosure of person • Classical Liberalism and man’s quest for God • From below; God as passive • Not only for the doctrine of God but for anthropology

  9. Doctrine of god EXPLORING THE TRINITY

  10. Exploring the Trinity: An Introduction • The Trinity: An optional extra? • Are We Binitarian or Trinitarian? • Kilian McDonnell • “In the West, we think essentially in Christological categories, with the Holy Spirit as an extra, an addendum, a "false" window to give symmetry and balance to theological design. We build up our large theological constructs in constitutive Christological categories, and then, [in a second, non-constitutive moment, we decorate the already constructed system with pneumatological baubles, a little Spirit tinsel.” • McDonnell, 'Determinative Doctrine of the Holy Spirit,' 142 • Karl Rahner • reasons for this timidity in regards to trinitarian thinking? • At the heart of the Christian faith

  11. The Trinity in Christian theology • Aquinas • Scheliermacher • Barth • Pannenberg

  12. Approaches to Study of the Trinity B. Several approaches which have been taken when looking at the Trinity: 1) Rationalist approach reducing everything to what can be apprehended by reason or the intellect 2) Anti-intellectual approach The mystery of God is too great to be apprehended by the intellect 3) God is ultimately a mystery but exploration of the revelation of God can lead to clarity and understanding • our apprehension is inadequate • But God clearly revealed (unambiguously) in the person of Christ

  13. A. Basic idea: -God the Father sends the Son in order to save us, and Christ, together with the Father sends the Spirit in order to reconcile all things to himself and to renew and heal that which has been affected and hurt by sin -Tension between maintaining the oneness of God, i.e. preserving monotheism, and yet maintaining that Christ is God, as well as the Spirit -A stumbling point for many, including Arius (cf. Nicene Creed)

  14. Karl Rahner • Typical approach starts with oneness and then moves to the three • E.g. Thomas Aquinas • Neglect of the Trinity • Schleirmacher and Classical Liberalism

  15. Contemporary Renaissance of the Trinity • Barth • Pannneberg • Reflections • Importance of keeping the tension between the three and one; always keeping God’s trinitarian being in mind

  16. Doctrine of God in the bible • No doctrine of God, so to speak • Concept of God arose out of long process of development • Two main themes of NT • God as Father • Kingdom of God • Roots of a trinitarian conception of God

  17. Trinity and the Biblical Text C. The Biblical Text While the term ‘Trinity’ is not found in biblical text, the concept is Old Testament OT is pre-Christ, but it is not inconsistent with what we find in NT What we find is a God who is intimately involved with his creation and who is highly relational Progressive revelation

  18. Biblical Text, NT 2. New Testament In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God; all things were made through him, and without him was not anything made that was made. (John 1.1-3 RSV) In many and various ways God spoke of old to our fathers by the prophets; but in these last days he has spoken to us by a Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world. He reflects the glory of God and bears the very stamp of his nature, upholding the universe by his word of power. (Hebrews 1.1-3a RSV)

  19. Biblical Text, NT (cont.) Jesus said to him, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but by me. If you had known me, you would have known my Father also; henceforth you know him and have seen him." Philip said to him, "Lord, show us the Father, and we shall be satisfied." Jesus said to him, "Have I been with you so long, and yet you do not know me, Philip? He who has seen me has seen the Father; how can you say, `Show us the Father'? Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father in me? (John 14.6-10a RSV) Then he said to Thomas, "Put your finger here, and see my hands; and put out your hand, and place it in my side; do not be faithless, but believing." Thomas answered him, "My Lord and my God!" Jesus said to him, "Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet believe." (John 20.28 RSV)

  20. Biblical Text, NT (cont.) It was the feast of the Dedication at Jerusalem; it was winter, and Jesus was walking in the temple, in the portico of Solomon. So the Jews gathered round him and said to him, "How long will you keep us in suspense? If you are the Christ, tell us plainly." Jesus answered them, "I told you, and you do not believe. The works that I do in my Father's name, they bear witness to me; but you do not believe, because you do not belong to my sheep. My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me; and I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish, and no one shall snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father's hand. I and the Father are one." The Jews took up stones again to stone him. Jesus answered them, "I have shown you many good works from the Father; for which of these do you stone me?" The Jews answered him, "It is not for a good work that we stone you but for blasphemy; because you, being a man, make yourself God." (John 10.22-33)

  21. Formulation of the Trinity • Result of reflection and doctrinal progression over time • Terms are analogical • Ultimately discussing a mystery-apophatic quality of God • A way of showing relation between Father, Son & Spirit • Two key milestones • Council of Nicea (325 A.D.) • Athanasius vs. Arius • A soteriological issue • Council of Constantinople (381 A.D.) • Further clarification on Nicea • Which leads to key understanding that God is one essence in three persons

  22. Formulation of the Trinity (cont.) • God is three hypostases/personal (‘persons’), one ousia/consubstantial (substance) • Qualification of term ‘person’ –not an individual center of consciousness; a relational term • All three are coequal, coeternal, share a common will, and common activity but each have different roles in the economy of salvation • However each is present in the actions of the other

  23. Perichoresis = mutual indwelling of the persons of the Godhead; the communion of the triune persons. • For God to exist is to exist as persons-in-communion • United in a divine dance • Jeremy Begbie’s analogy of the chord

  24. Distortions in the doctrine of the trinity • Councils are a reaction against three distortions: • Subordinationism • Different ranks of deity • God as eternal Father is Supreme • How can • Modalism • Trinitarian persons are not modes of being (e.g. water as solid, liquid & gas). I.e. that God appears in three different forms • Tritheism • Three individuals/gods • But the trinitarian persons are not individuals in this sense (e.g. egg)

  25. Classical affirmation • Every act of God is the act of the triune God, while still maintaining the distinctiveness of persons of the Trinity and their roles • God is not a monad but self-communicating love

  26. Formulation of the Trinity • Distinction between the economic trinity and the immanent (ontological) trinity • Economic = God’s observable acts in salvation history • Immanent = The inner being of God. The unobservable, immeasurable unquantifiable acts of God • Karl Rahner’s axiom: The “economic” Trinity is the “immanent” Trinity and the “immanent” Trinity is the “economic” Trinity • Linked with Revelation (especially Incarnation) • God’s actions reveal something of who God is in himself. I.e. Who God is with and for us is genuinely who he is in himself but not all of who he is

  27. Formulation of the Trinity • Note that God is not a person in the sense that we speak of person – again analogical terms but God does have some attributes of persons- capacity for relationship, intelligence, love… • Each of the ‘persons’ of the Trinity have specific roles in history of salvation • Even as each participates in the work of the other

  28. God as Triune Each of the divine persons communicates himself to us in his own personal particularity and diversity (Rahner) • God the Father Sends the Son and the Spirit (through the Son) Spirit and Son are the self-communication of God • God the Son Death & resurrection World is reconciled through Christ (II Cor. 5.19) Son is begotten - light from light (ex. of candle) • God the Holy Spirit -empowering presence of God -Continues the work of Christ -Point of Contact between humans and God -Transforming and renewing force And Christians, through the direction of the Holy Spirit, are to be agents of social transformation

  29. Unity and Particularity held in tension • E.g. Jeremy Begbie’s analogy of the chord “I cannot think of the one without being quickly encircled by the splendor of the three; nor can I discern the three without being immediately led back to the one” Gregory of Nazianzus

  30. Some key points that emerge • God as personal and inherently relational (and implications) • Mutual self-surrendering love • God as dynamic, not static • In God’s being is unity and difference • In God’s being there is dynamic personal relationship, the eternal giving and receiving of love • This plenitude flows to us and is taken back into the life of God • God as both immanent and transcendent • God is not other than who He is for and with us • Communion of free and equal persons • Implications for human living • E.g. social implications

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