Tag Archives | Augustine

Are the Father, Son, and Spirit Equally Persons?

Here’s Karl Barth’s answer:

. . . even if the Father and the Son might be called “person” (in the modern sense of the term), the Holy Spirit could not possibly be regarded as the third “person.” In a particularly clear way the Holy Spirit is what the Father and the Son also are. He is not a third spiritual Subject, a third I, a third Lord side by side with two others. He is a third mode of being of the one divine Subject or Lord.

. . .

He is the common element, or, better, the fellowship, the act of communion, of the Father and the Son. He is the act in which the Father is the Father of the Son or the Speaker of the Word and the Son is the Son of the Father or the Word of the Speaker. (CD I,1, 469)

This sounds on the surface like a denial of full trinitarianism (and I am a little uncomfortable with it), but it shares much in common with the views of Augustine and Jonathan Edwards, both of whom tended to talk about the Spirit in ways that seem less than fully personal.

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Intratrinitarian Reconciliation?

The Theology of ReconciliationJenson, Robert W. “Reconciliation in God.” In The Theology of Reconciliation, edited by Colin E. Gunton, 158–66. London: T&T Clark, 2003.1

Jenson’s opening lines set the stage for his main thesis:

When I am invited to speak at a conference, I know I am supposed to indulge in the sort of trinitarian and christological speculation that skirts the edge of the sayable. So I have posed the question to myself: is there anything in God himself that might plausibly be called “reconciliation”? (158)

He goes on to argue that the traditional understanding of the Father begetting the Son and spirating the Spirit is inadequate because incomplete. He posits that the Spirit liberates the Father for the Son and reconciles the Son to the Father (158).

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  1. Cf. Amazon.

Augustin on Postmodernism

Chapter 14.—Error of Those Who Think that There Is No Absolute Right and Wrong.

22. But when men unacquainted with other modes of life than their own meet with the record of such actions, unless they are restrained by authority, they look upon them as sins, and do not consider that their own customs either in regard to marriage, or feasts, or dress, or the other necessities and adornments of human life, appear sinful to the people of other nations and other times. And, distracted by this endless variety of customs, some who were half asleep (as I may say)—that is, who were neither sunk in the deep sleep of folly, nor were able to awake into the light of wisdom—have thought that there was no such thing as absolute right, but that every nation took its own custom for right; and that, since every nation has a different custom, and right must remain unchangeable, it becomes manifest that there is no such thing as right at all. Such men did not perceive, to take only one example, that the precept, “Whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them,”1 cannot be altered by any diversity of national customs. And this precept, when it is referred to the love of God, destroys all vices when to the love of one’s neighbor, puts an end to all crimes. For no one is willing to defile his own dwelling; he ought not, therefore, to defile the dwelling of God, that is, himself. And no one wishes an injury to be done him by another; he himself, therefore, ought not to do injury to another.2


  1. n34: Matt. 7:12. Comp. Tobit 4:15.
  2. ECF; NPNF1, II, 562.