Saturday, 6 January 2007

The freedom of God's future

“If the futurity of God is thus the structure of his trinitarian life with and for us, we do not need to safeguard God’s freedom by the clumsy device of calling the ‘dispensational Trinity’ the ‘image’ of an ‘immanent Trinity.’ For futurity is the condition of freedom. God is free over against the realized actualities of his trinitarian life with us, because he is always ahead of them; he always can be otherwise triune than he has so far been. This freedom is his trinitarian life.”

—Robert W. Jenson, God after God: The God of the Past and the God of the Future, Seen in the Work of Karl Barth (Indianapolis: Bobbs-Merrill, 1969), p. 174.

2 Comments:

Anonymous said...

Re: "God is free over against the realized actualities of his trinitarian life with us, because he is always ahead of them; he always can be otherwise triune than he has so far been."

Interesting. What does this mean? Is the author claiming that God can be other than trinity? Or that all manifestations of God will always have a trinitarian dimension? - DN

Halden said...

What I think he's saying here is that God's triunity is his futurity. Thus, Jenson is saying that even thought God's triune nature is "defined" in the world through the work of Christ (the "dispensational trinity"), that identification doesn't limit God's freedom, but rather is identical with it because God's trinitarian being is always "future." Thus, there are infinite modalities and riches within the Triune life that God is free to display - i.e. he remains free even though he defines himself in the history of Jesus.

Perhaps a way to say it is that Jenson is saying that becuase God's very being is the future (Jenson would particularly attribute this to the Spirit), there is always a "trinitarian surplus" to God's identity as it has been revealed to us in Christ.

This actually seems a little bit out of Character with Jenson's later writings, though maybe Ben has a different take. Here Jenson seems to be saying that God can continue to be present to us and reveal himself as Triune in ways that are different (though no less Triune) than he has thus far.

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