Cinematizing the Trinity

Francesca Aran Murphy

in God Is Not a Story

Published in print July 2007 | ISBN: 9780199219285
Published online September 2007 | e-ISBN: 9780191711664 | DOI:
Cinematizing the Trinity

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This chapter argues that the grammatical Thomism of Herbert McCabe and the story Barthianism of Hans Frei are as modalist or Sabellian as the full-blown story Thomism of Robert Jenson. On the one hand, if one applies the descriptive or narrative method to the Trinity and its works in salvation history, one ‘person’ will appear after another, as in modalism. On the other hand, this will not even achieve its stated aim of doing justice to the temporality of salvation history, since all three persons will be actualizations of a single, static, and immobile story. Although the narrative theological dissolution of the persons of the Trinity into a series of relationships may not be wholly grounded in texts of either Barth or Aquinas, the classical Augustinian method nonetheless undermines the historical force of the Biblical salvation history, with its descriptions of the persons of the Trinity, and therefore is not a stable basis from which to avoid modalism. This chapter proposes that the modern challenge can be met to show how the economic Trinity really exhibits the immanent, eternal Trinity by considering the historical missions of Son and Spirit, not just as the reflection or illustration of, but as the ‘expression’ of the divine Love. This approach to Trinitarian theology strengthens rather than diminishes the force of its reference to three persons, by keeping the Biblical descriptions in sight.

Keywords: modalism; Tritheism; Scriptural; music; monotheism; Trinitarian; personal; modes; characters; eternity

Chapter.  27041 words. 

Subjects: Christian Theology

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