IN THE CHRISTIAN TRADITION, IT IS GENERALLY AGREED THAT THE DOCTRINE OF THE TRINITY REPRESENTS CHRISTIANITY’S MOST CAREFULLY ARTICULATED CONCEPTUALIZATION OF DIVINE BEING. AS PAUL TILLICH HAS POINTED OUT, TRINITARIAN "THINKING" IS PRESENT IN MANY RELIGIOUS TRADITIONS, BUT THERE IS NOTHING LIKE A "DOCTRINE" OF THE TRINITY TO BE FOUND EXCEPT IN CHRISTIANITY. THIS ESSAY ATTEMPTS TO SHOW THAT, PRECISELY AS DOCTRINE, TRINITARIANISM REPRESENTS A UNIQUE CONTRIBUTION TO HUMANKIND’S REFLECTION ABOUT TRANSCENDENT REALITY.
If Christian theology is that enterprise whose essential purpose is to understand the faith of the Christian Church, then it must approach that faith from the perspective not only of its transcendent source, but also as a human achievement, a creative interpretation of those events in which transcendent reality discloses itself for appropriation. Few theologians would deny that theology has to do primarily with the ways in which ultimate reality becomes manifest in human beings' faithful responses, in belief and trust, (...) to its self-disclosures, preparatory and decisive. But the implications of such a view are not always confronted straightforwardly, especially for the suitable normative principles by which theology must assess the adequacy of the church's expressions of its faith. This essay seeks to probe how an account of the Christian faith could proceed whose norm derives not from the revelatory source of faith but from the dynamic of human creativity within which alone faith's source, in being interpreted, becomes clear, cogent, and decisive for conscious existence. (shrink)
Anselm's two ‘ontological’ arguments rest upon three fundamental assertions: The idea of God is the idea of a being than which nothing more perfect is conceivable. Whatever exists in the understanding and outside the understanding is more perfect than whatever exists in the understanding alone. Whatever cannot be conceived not to exist is more perfect than whatever can be conceived not to exist.