The Trinity

Gilles Emery

in The Oxford Handbook of Aquinas

Published in print January 2012 | ISBN: 9780195326093
Published online May 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks

 The Trinity

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Aquinas argued that Christian faith is Trinitarian in nature. Aquinas ruled out the possibility of natural reason attaining to knowledge of the Trinity and refused to consider God's personal plurality as the fruit of an essential fecundity of the divine being. He drew a clear distinction between the knowledge of the divine essence and knowledge of personal plurality in God. Aquinas supplied several syntheses of the Trinitarian doctrine and the principal elements of his Trinitarian doctrine are presented here as well in his biblical commentaries. The Summa theologiae offers his most complete synthesis. Aquinas's speculative Trinitarian theology focuses chiefly on two doctrinal pillars that include the conception of the divine person as a subsistent relation, as well as the doctrine of the Word and Love. Aquinas conceived of the divine person as a ‘subsistent relation’. Aquinas held that two bases can cause a real relation that includes quantity and action-passion. Aquinas recognized two kinds of immanent procession in an intellectual nature, that of the intellect and that of the will. Aquinas showed that the procession of Love is distinguished from the Word's generation in the real order, because generation takes place through the mode of a similitude, while the procession of Love takes place through the dynamic mode of a principle of impulsion toward the being that is loved.

Keywords: Christian faith; Trinitarian doctrine; Summa theologiae; doctrine of the Word and Love; divine person

Article.  4671 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy ; History of Western Philosophy ; Philosophy of Religion

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