I just started reading the book Think: The Life of the Mind and the Love of God by John Piper and so far, as is to be expected when one reads a Piper book, is pretty academic and mind-exploding! In chapter 2 Piper is extolling his love of Jonathan Edwards and his musings on the Trinitarian God. This quote from Edwards comes from his paper “An Essay on the Trinity” and it is simply too good to not share. I had to read it a couple times before I totally understood it, but it seems to me the most complete and robust explanation of the Trinity and how each Person relates to the Other.
This I suppose to be the blessed Trinity that we read of in the Holy Scriptures. The Father is the deity subsisting in the prime, unoriginated and most absolute manner, or the deity in its direct existence. The Son is the deity generated by God’s understanding, or having an idea of Himself and subsisting in that idea. The Holy Ghost is the deity subsisting in act, or the divine essence flowing out and breathed forth in God’s infinite love to delight in Himself. And I believe the whole Divine essence does truly and distinctly subsist both in the Divine idea and Divine love, and that each of them are properly distinct persons.
That totally blew my mind! And it gets even crazier because on the next page Piper includes another excerpt from Edwards’ paper on how the Trinity glorifies itself and delights in itself.
God is glorified withing Himself these two ways: (1) By appearing…to Himself in His own perfect idea [of Himself], or in His Son, who is the brightness of His glory. (2) By enjoying and delighting in Himself, by flowing forth in infinite…delight towards Himself, or in his Holy Spirit.
…So God glorifies Himself toward the creatures also in two ways: (1) By appearing to…their understanding. (2) In communicating Himself to their hearts, and in their rejoicing and delighting in, and enjoying, the manifestations which He makes of Himself…God is glorified not only by His glory’s being seen, but by its being rejoiced in. When those that see it delight in it, God is more glorified than if they only see it. His glory is then received by the whole soul, both by the understanding and by the heart.
God made the world that He might communicate, and the creature receive, His glory; and that it might [be] received both by the mind and heart. He that testifies his idea of God’s glory [doesn’t] glorify God so much as he that testifies also his approbation of it and his delight in it.
So there it is. A rather complete and robust exegesis on the doctrine of the Trinity in less than 200 words! I didn’t think that existed! Just some food for thought since I don’t have time to write any more.