Posted on June 3, 2012
Today is Trinity Sunday, the first Sunday after Pentecost. It is celebrated in Catholic Churches around the world. Since I’m not Catholic nor a mainline Protestant, then chances are I’ll hear nothing of it from the pulpit today.
Nevertheless, the Trinity is a fundamental belief essential to all Christians everywhere for all time. It is a tenet of the faith that cannot be compromised. For your musings, here’s a reading from Michael Horton‘s systematic The Christian Faith.
Essential attributes are shared equally by the three persons. All three persons are infinite, sovereign, loving, and omniscient. However, only the Father begets, only the Son is begotten, and only the Spirit is spirited….Even in human generation, it is persons who are begotten, not human nature.
Presumably, to beget or be begotten is not an essential attribute but an accidental one. Humanly speaking, personhood carries with it both essential attributes (all that human nature entails, e.g., mind, body) and accidental ones (having a sister, not having a brother, being the first-born, being female, etc). Thus the Son is not the Father (accidentally speaking) but shares in the Father’s nature in toto.
For a provocative but accessible presentation see the essay by Jeffrey Brower and Michael Rea, “Understanding the Trinity“.
See also “Trinity without Tiers or De Trinitate“.