Two Calvin Quotes

Calvin, commenting on Exodus 34:6-7, writes: “Thereupon his powers are mentioned, by which he is shown to us not as he is in himself, but as he is towards us; so that this recognition of him consists more in living experience than in vain and high-flown speculation” (Quoted in Engaging the Doctrine of God: Contemporary Protestant Perspectives, edited by Bruce McCormack [Baker Academic, 2008], p. 9.) As I have reflected on this quote over the last week, it has helped me see in a new way the danger of an overly philosophical and intellectual approach to theology. In Scripture, the…

Reflections on the Trinity (4)

Some fascinating quotes from Edwards on the Trinity, all of which I have drawn from Amy Plantinga Pauw’s The Supreme Harmony of All: The Trinitarian Theology of Jonathan Edwards. “God has appeared glorious to me, on account of the Trinity. It has made me have exalting thoughts of God that he subsists of three persons; Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.” (Personal Narrative) “I am not afraid to say twenty things about the Trinity which the Scripture never said.” (Miscellanies #94) “One alone cannot be excellent, inasmuch as, in such case, there can be no consent. Therefore, there must be a…

Reflections on the Trinity (3)

In my continued reflections on the difficult, weighty, and beautiful doctrine of the Trinity, I looked a bit tonight at the fourth and final section of C.S. Lewis’ Mere Christianity, entitled “Beyond Personality: Or First Steps in the Doctrine of the Trinity.” Lewis is a master of stating profound truths in simple and accessible ways. I found several helpful quotes that helped me think through more clearly some of the ideas I had hit upon in my first two posts on this topic. I will reproduce some of the best ones here. From Chapter 2, “The Three-Personal God:” “You know…

Reflections on the Trinity (2)

I want to return to something I referred to in my last post (and have written about elsewhere), namely, my struggle with this doctrine during college. I found the Trinity difficult because it just seemed too strange to be plausible. Also, it seemed arbitrary – why three? If God has existed from all eternity past as a community of persons, why not four, or forty? What has been most helpful to me on this doctrine is the theology of Karl Barth, particularly his doctrine of the “infinite qualitative distinction between God and man.” In referring to Barth I am not…

Reflections on the Trinity (1)

I have been pondering the doctrine of the Trinity lately. When I was a younger Christian I never really critically examined this belief, and when I was in college it gave me great difficulty because it seemed arbitrary to me. More recently, I have been struck by the beauty of this doctrine, and the profound implications that it has for epistemology and life. The other day during class I started jotting down some thoughts on the Trinity, and now I will post them here on my blog: The doctrine of the Trinity should either be dismissed immediately as blatantly irrational,…