The Trinity: A critical dialogue between St. Augustine and Emil Brunner

Lee, Hae-Jin (2006) The Trinity: A critical dialogue between St. Augustine and Emil Brunner. MTh(R) thesis, University of Glasgow.

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Abstract

The purpose of this study is to understand the relation between God and human beings in the Trinity. This critical dialogue between Augustine and Brunner is in order to see their different approaches to the Trinity. Augustine tries to understand the Trinity by seeing the static vision of God. Augustine identifies human beings' seeing the vision of God and their salvation by human beings' transformation. Augustine focuses on the unity of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. He thinks that the Son's coming into the world is God's illumination. The Son mediates between God and human beings by taking human form. Augustine's project is to see God face to face by human beings' transformation. So he focuses on human beings' life, death and life after death. The reason why he focuses on these three things is to match Jesus' incarnation, death and resurrection. On the other hand, Brunner concentrates on God's coming into the world. This is God's participation in the world as the encountering event through the Son. According to Brunner, God's self-giving love through the Son is the essence of the Trinity. Human beings' responding to God's self-giving love is a way to understand the Trinity. God's self-giving love is the issue of a critical dialogue with Augustine. Augustine's assertion of human beings' transformation for seeing God face to face is revised by God's self-giving love. The point of the Trinity is God's coming into the world. But Augustine focuses on human beings' participation in God through the Son's coming to the world. What we try to do through a critical dialogue between Augustine and Brunner is to rethink Augustine's argument of the static vision of God in the Trinity. Augustine tries to see the God of unknownness through the Trinity. But Brunner tries to understand the Trinity in God's coming into the world. Human beings' transformation for perfect understanding of the Trinity is the theme of philosophical trinitarian theology. Augustine focuses on human beings' deification. But Brunner concentrates on human beings' responding to God's self-giving love. In his ethical theology, to love God and to love your neighbour are the ways to understanding God's love through the Son's death and suffering. With the Trinity, Augustine tries to focus on human beings' transformation as the means of achieving eternal happiness by seeing God face to face, whereas Brunner focuses on human beings' respond to God's self-giving love. Jesus' coming into the world is the point of their distinctive approach to the Trinity. Thus, a critical dialogue between Augustine and Brunner shows what the Trinity means to human beings' life in the world. What the Son's coming into the world means to human beings is human beings' transformation or human beings' acceptance of God's self-giving love.

Item Type: Thesis (MTh(R))
Qualification Level: Masters
Keywords: Theology
Date of Award: 2006
Depositing User: Enlighten Team
Unique ID: glathesis:2006-71376
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 10 May 2019 10:49
Last Modified: 10 May 2019 10:49
URI: http://theses.gla.ac.uk/id/eprint/71376

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