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The Trinity and the Kingdom - Jürgen Moltmann
Transcript of The Trinity and the Kingdom - Jürgen Moltmann
"If a person once feels the infinite passion of God's love which finds expression here, then he understands the mystery of the triune God. God suffers with us - God suffers from us - God suffers for us: it is this experience of God that reveals the triune God" (4)
‘In July 1943 I was an air force auxiliary in a battery in the center of Hamburg, and barely survived the fire storm which the Royal Air Force's “Operation Gomorrah” let loose on the eastern part of the city. The friend standing next to me at the firing predictor was torn to pieces by the bomb that left me unscathed. That night I cried out to God for the first time: “My God, where are you?” And the question “Why am I not dead too?” has haunted me ever since’.
Start with the Persons of the Trinity...
Don't focus on unity as much as you
might focus on the uniqueness of each person
of the Trinity
Think in terms of relationships, communities, creation, kingdoms, etc...
"God's unity must be expressed in Trinitarian terms" (190)
"Christ is our sole means of access to the knowledge of God" (40)
"The present book is an attempt to start with the special Christian tradition of the history of Jesus the Son, and from that to develop a historical doctrine of the Trinity. Here we shall presuppose the unity of God neither as homogenous substance nor as identical subject" (19)
"The Doctrine of the Trinity must go past simply establishing the same thing three times" (141-142)
God is Love
Tendency to portray God as incapable of suffering, unmovable, self-sufficient, and impassible
If God were incapable of suffering, God would be incapable of love
It's not that God suffers because God is deficient, rather "God suffers from the love which is the superabundance and overflowing of his being" (23)
"God's passion should be our starting point
and we should understand the suffering of
Christ as the suffering of the passionate God" (22)
Think of God in terms of the "almighty power of suffering love. It is in this that he [God] reveals Christ...the cross on Golgotha has revealed the eternal heart of the Trinity" (31)
How do we do this?
Moltmann argues that:
"Here we shall presuppose the unity of God
neither as homogenous substance nor as identical
The "unmoved-mover" or loving God?
Who is the Father?
All creation proceeds from the Father
Father of the Son
Not a male, Santa Claus-esque guy in the sky (begets the son)
Eternal origin of the Trinity - Father is without origin
Not a monarch, but defined through action with the Son and Spirit
Who is the Son?
Not created out of nothing (ex nihilo)
Has everything in common with the Father except the Father's Fatherhood (166)
When the Father forsakes the Son, both are affected
"People cannot get used to the idea that this cry of the God-forsaken Son stands at the centre of the Christian faith" (78)
"The Son is the Logos through whom the Father creates the world. The Son is that image of God for which God destines human beings" (117)
Different love between Father and Son (different Persons)
Who is the Holy Spirit?
Not simply a divine energy
Spirit as a dove idea depicts a duo, not a Trinity
Spirit is not created, but "he issues from the Father's being and is of the same essence or substance as the Father and Son. In experiencing the Holy Spirit we experience God himself: we experience the Spirit of the Father, who unites us with the Son; the Spirit of the Son, whom the Father gives; and the Spirit who glorifies us through the Son and the Father" (170)
Moltmann's emphasis on the Persons
inevitably leads to a fuller understanding of the Trinity.
The Persons of the Trinity...
Three Persons, One Family
Unitedness and at-oneness of the Trinity lies in the fellowship of the Father, Son, and Spirit - we don't need a common substance or subject
Trinity must be perceived via the "perichoresis of the divine Persons" (150)
Each of the Persons possess the divine nature in a non-interchangeable way, and each presents it in a unique way
Otherwise the Spirit could've been on the cross
"Unity of the tri-unity" idea points to the unity in terms of the relationship between the Persons (175)
"The unity of the Trinity is constituted by the Father, concentrated round the Son, and illumined by the Holy Spirit" (178)
In the sending, delivering up and resurrection of Christ we find this sequence:
In the lordship of Christ and
the sending of the Spirit the
In terms of eschatological consumation
and glorification, the sequence is:
The Workings of the Trinity
Father Spirit Son
Father Son Spirit
Spirit Son Father
No single pattern in how the Trinity works together...
The Trinity and the Kingdom
Traditional view is of a Kingdom of Nature, a Kingdom of Grace and an ultimate Kingdom of Glory
Moltmann argues for the Kingdom of the Father, the Kingdom of the Son, the Kingdom of the Spirit, and the Kingdom of Glory
"God unceasingly desires the freedom of his creation. God is the inexhaustible freedom of those he has created" (218)
"The Kingdom of the Father consists of the creation of a world open to the future, and the preservation both of existence itself and of its openness for the future of the kingdom of glory" (209)
"The Kingdom of the Son consists of the liberating lordship of the crucified one, and the fellowship with the first-born of many brothers and sisters" (210)
"The Kingdom of the Spirit is experienced in the gift conferred on the people liberated by the Son – the gift of the Holy Spirit’s energies. That is the reason why the kingdom of the Spirit is as closely linked with the kingdom of the Son, as the kingdom of the Son is with the kingdom of the Father" (211)
"All three determinations of the history of God’s kingdom point towards the eschatological kingdom of glory in which people will finally, wholly and completely be gathered into the eternal life of the triune God…" (213)
"By virtue of Friendship with God in the Spirit, we have the chance to influence God and to participate in his rule…the freedom of servants, the freedom of children, and the freedom of God’s friends correspond to the history of the kingdom of God" – Jürgen Moltmann