T. F. Torrance on the Rediscovery of the Trinity

"... events of considerable Christian significance have been taking place in which we see evidence of the winds of God blowing across the Churches today. I think particularly of the fact that the doctrine of the Holy Trinity is now becoming the focus of attention again all over the world. I may mention that in 1989 the British Council of Churches published a report of their study commission on trinitarian doctrine today, entitled The Forgotten Trinity. And in 1991, after years of discussion beginning in 1976, Orthodox and Reformed churches have produced together an agreed statement on the Holy Trinity. Nothing like this has ever taken place between the churches of the East and West, at least since the early centuries. There is now a rapidly growing literature on the doctrine of the Trinity, with which it is difficult to keep up. I think not least of books discussing ways of bringing Christian understanding of the personal relations within the Holy Trinity to bear upon social relations and structures with a view to bringing about their radical transformation and liberation from fascist and Marxist suppression."

"I would like to draw attention to this movement of thought, for there are ways of thinking being pursued today which are not tied up with the Enlightenment rationalism, with the pseudo-sciences, or with relativism and secularism. In connection with the doctrine of the Trinity there become disclosed ways of relational thinking in which even some scientists are becoming very interested, for they find in the Christian doctrine of the Trinity that theologians, as they express it, have been able to map the three to the one and the one to the three, which they need to do but have not been able to do in quantum theory. Moreover, it is when we consider what these scientists call "the intersection of symmetries", between the transcendent order of the divine Trinity and the contingent order of the created universe, that refined patterns of order become disclosed which may very well help scientists when they push their inquiries to the very edge of being, where being bounds on non-being, only to find chaotic states of affairs, which are probably due to the inadequacy of their conceptual instruments (e.g. a mathematics that does not have time relations built into it) as much as to the subtle dynamic nature of reality. If this kind of interrelation between basic theological concepts and basic scientific concepts could be worked out, there might well come about the most profound and startling transformation in human knowledge to the benefit of theological science and natural science alike."

Thomas F. Torrance, Preaching Christ Today: The Gospel and Scientific Thinking, Eerdmans (1994).

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