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February 11, 2005



this is a rather fascinating entry, and i'll probably have to re-read it later before i properly get it.

One thing I don't really understand is the "Economic Trinity"...? I could sort of guess "Immanent Trinity", but I'm not familiar with these terms.

"...this leaves us without a basis for knowing anything, because ‘our experience may be finally deceptive’"

This is, of course, not an entirely true thing. We may Know even if all experience is false. Many philosophers (rationalists) disregarded all experience as false, and said only that which we "think" is capable of being true (with various different takes on the theme). This has it's roots in Plato in the West, but is also a much older concept in the East. Hindus believe that Brahman is the only true reality, and that everything else is Maya, that is, "The Phenomenal world... is illusory and dreamlike." (Stephen T. Davis). I think there is this principle in Buddhism too, but I can't remember where i read it.

so yes, our experience can be deceptive, but we may still know (links with Descartes and "cogito ergo sum" etc.

anyways, this is all very interesting, what I understood of it. :o)

andy goodliff

"... the economic Trinity, the Trinity in act . . . The word 'economy' was a theological coining long before it came to be reduced to the dreary concern with money. The underlying Greek suggests the running of a household and metaphorically refers to the way in which God directs his world, from its creation to its final consummation. The theology of the economic Trinity . . . provides an account of the trinitarian way in which God creates, shapes and perfects his creation in and through time' (CF, 180). The immanent Trinity then refers to God in his being, in eternity.

On the other question regarding experience what I've quoted is not everything Gunton says. Basically the point I think is, the God we experience in Christ and Spirit, is not different to who God is, i.e. we can trust God reveals himself as himself and not in some disguise or false way. Schleiermacher articulated a theology entirely based on experience, the problem being if he is right, that what we experience is not necessarily what is.


did you see this? Very funny!


enjoyed your post on Gunton. I read bits of him while at college, but was more into Moltmann. Despite there being the renewed interest in things Trinitarian there still seems to be a huge degree of skepticism over its relevance. I wrote a post on my blog back in January called Shaping Part 1 - it was interesting to see some people's comments on the Trinitarian angle I took.


I just noticed a new book by Stanley Grenz in the library here; it's called Rediscovering The Triune God: The Trinity In Contemporary Theology.

You might be interested in it.

andy goodliff

Thanks Mark - I just downloaded the first chapter from Grenz's website. Looks ok, but he doesn't converse with Gunton. He does have this great quote from Robert Jenson: “[the doctrine of the Trinity] is not a separate puzzle to be solved but the framework within which all theology’s puzzles are to be


Thank for your information on Gunton's theology. It is very different from the view of Cornelius Van Til said that: Trinity is 3 persons in 1 person. Val Til was bold enough to coin the term " 1 - one person". However I have read your blog here and saw that Gunton's point of inserting relation and fellowship into the ontology aspect of the Trinity was an interesting and fresh approached.
Reformed Theology Learner

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