Trinity: God as Absolute Spirit

Peter C. Hodgson

in Hegel and Christian Theology

Published in print March 2005 | ISBN: 9780199273614
Published online April 2005 | e-ISBN: 9780191602443 | DOI:
Trinity: God as Absolute Spirit

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The specifically Christian idea of God is as absolute spirit, which means that the divine life takes on a trinitarian structure: immediacy or self-identity, self-differentiation or positing of otherness, and self-return or consummation. This is the life-process of spirit itself. The Christian doctrine of the Trinity articulates this insight in representational language that introduces numbers (three-in-one) and persons (Father, Son, Holy Spirit). In Hegel’s speculative reconstruction, God is to be understood not as three persons but as infinite personality or subjectivity, which constitutes distinctions within itself but suspends these distinctions and remains in unity with itself. Life, love, and friendship all exhibit this dialectical structure. Traces and anticipations of the Trinity are to be found in everything and everywhere—an insight grasped by a heterodox tradition going back to Pythagoreans, Neoplatonists, Gnostics, and German mystics such as Boehme.

Keywords: absolute spirit; Trinity; Father-Son-Spirit; personality; life; love; friendship; Neoplatonism; Gnosticism; Boehme

Chapter.  5661 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy of Religion

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