“Personalism” is a term with specific philosophical connotations that I do not intend here. What I mean by “trinitarian personalism” follows from an insight, expressed by Thomas Aquinas in his disputation on divine power, that the term “person” is a term of dignity, which indicates two things about God’s supreme greatness and goodness.
First, that God exists in three “persons” indicates that God’s manner of existing is the highest manner of existing. Specifically, the triune God is the living God; and the life he lives is a life of perfect intelligence, love, and beatitude. Second, that God exists in three “persons” indicates that God’s intelligent, loving, and blessed manner of existing subsists in three distinct, irreducible, unsubstitutable ways: as the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. The true and living God is the tripersonal God; and the life he lives is the life of the Father who begets, of the Son who is begotten, and of the Spirit who is breathed forth in their mutual love.
…The Church Fathers display a kind of trinitarian personalism in the ways they read Holy Scripture. Three examples stand out.
The first example comes from Irenaeus of Lyon. In his dispute with Gnostic interpreters who so twisted Holy Scripture that its unified message became unrecognizable, Irenaeus argues that the main purpose of the “rule of faith” is to help readers identify the person of Jesus Christ as the handsome king to which all scriptures point. The scope or aim of Scripture, on this understanding, is not something but someone. Holy Scripture, in all its literary and historical diversity, is a book that holds forth before the eyes of faith God the Son, the handsome king. Read more»
Scott Swain | “The Trinity and Christian preaching” | Sept 27, 2019
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