Saturday 31 August 2013

John Calvin vastly delighted in the Trinity: Do we?

Gregory of Nazianzus stated: "One God; one in diversity, diverse in unity". This proposition means that when we contemplate the one, we are contemplating the three because they are one undivided being. Equal weight must be given to the oneness, threeness and co-unity of the three (Triunity); all three persons are equal in deity, purpose and eternity; each person is fully God. The Athanasian Creed affirms that "we worship One God in Trinity and Trinity in Unity; neither confounding the persons, nor dividing the substance".

John Calvin saw that this designation of the one true God is a special mark by which God "distinguishes himself more precisely from idols" and a passage from Gregory of Nazianzus "Oration on Holy Baptism", which Calvin said "vastly delights me", is a superb trinitarian boundary marker:

"No sooner do I conceive of the One than I am illumined by the splendour of the Three; no sooner do I distinguish them then am I carried back to the One. When I think of any One of the Three I think of him as the Whole, and my eyes are filled, and the greater part of what I am thinking escapes me. I cannot grasp the greatness of that One so as to attribute a greater greatness to the Rest. When I contemplate the Three together, I see but one torch, and cannot divide or measure out the undivided light".

This trinitarian truth "vastly delighted" John Calvin, but could the contemporary church in the West say the same today? Have we similarly been gripped by the purity, majesty and holiness of the Triune God? We should be, we should pray to be, we should desire so. May God's grace help us to see a Trinitarian recovery in the Western church in our own generation, Amen.

No comments: