This Week in Theology: The Renewl of the Doctrine of the Trinity
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While the doctrine of the Trinity landed on hard times during the enlightenment, Karl Barth brought it to the forefront of theology by structuring his entire Church Dogmatics around the Trinity. What became an abstract idea through the centuries, became more concrete as Barth grounded the Trinity in both revelation and salvation history.
Karl Rahner strengthen the renewal by anchoring the trinity even stronger to salvation history. His contribution was so substantial that theologians now call it Rahner’s rule. The rule is that the works of God in salvation history reveal the inner life of God, and the inner life of God corresponds to the work of God. While this rule is not absolute, this continued the movement of the Trinity becoming more concrete. Not only that, but because salvation history becomes a part of the life of the Triune God, he is actually touched by what happens in the world, though his nature remains steady.
John Ziziolas’ primary contribution was his emphasis on the trinity being relational. From the beginning God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit have been in an unending dance of mutual enjoyment and love for one another. He contended that there is no true being apart from community.
Years ago this renewed focus on the Trinity has shaped the way I approach ministry. I find it an honor to invite people into the rich communion of God. By reviewing the concrete history of God the Father, Son and Spirit, we not only grow in our understanding of God, but we see community as it was designed to be. Eternal life is an invitation to participate in the being of God, the place where our hearts come alive, the place of experiencing the love of the Triune God together, so that we might grow in our love for one another and the whole world.