Wednesday, March 12, 2014

The Triune God as God of True Reason

The Trinity of God is not understood by many. The fact that Christianity is a monotheistic religion (as is Judaism and Islam) is a mystery to many, especially since we refer to God as one (in essence) but three (hypostases). There have been many explanations of what the Trinity is. Here, Dumitru Staniloae explains the Triunie God as God of True Reason, claiming:

“It can be said that the Triune God is also the God of true Reason, understood as the force of goodness and harmony…it is St. Maximus the Confessor who develops this idea. A monopersonal god would not give himself as the model and power behind harmony. He would not have anyone equal with himself who could draw near to humans, fulfilling the role of mediator between God and men, and among men themselves. St. Maximus the Confessor present the preincarnate Son of God as the Reason according to which everything was created, and the incarnate Christ as the one who once again brings harmony to creation, and between creation and God. This is because true Reason is one with love; and a monopersonal god would not have love as the power to create the world and as the purpose of creation. The world is created by the incarnate Son of God to receive Him into it. For all love comes from Him, in all the stages through which men have to pass during their lifetimes, so that in Him all may love the Father and thus love each other”[1].
Saint Maximus the Confessor, Questions to Thalassius, in Filocalia states that, “Christ Jesus, the Word of God, as the Maker [Creator] of all, also made the natural law [i.e., the law of natural harmony]. And as the Cause and Giver of laws He gave, certainly, both the law written in letters and the law of the Spirit, which is to say, the law of grace [of the gospel]. For the ‘end of the law’, which is to say, the written law, understood spirituality, ‘is Christ’ [Rom 10:4]. So if in Christ as Maker [Creator], as Cause and Giver of laws, and as Redeemer, the natural law, the written law, and the law of grace are brought together, this adds truth to the words of the holy Apostle that God will judge the secrets of men according to His gospel [cf. Rom 2:16], which is to say that He judges according to the good news that He brings”[2].

[1] Staniloae, Dumitru, The Holy Trinity – In the Beginning There was Love, (Brookline, Holy Cross Orthodox Press, 2012), p. 8
[2] Maximus the Confessor, Questions to Thalassius 13(Patrologia Graeca [PG] 90:296), in Filocalia, trans. Dumitru Staniloae, 2nd ed. (Bucharest: Humanitas, 1999), 3:63

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