The Doctrine Of The Trinity -- By: D. W. Simon

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 044:173 (Jan 1887)
Article: The Doctrine Of The Trinity
Author: D. W. Simon


The Doctrine Of The Trinity

D. W. Simon

No doctrine of the Christian system deserves more careful attention than that which treats of the nature and inner constitution of God. Its right formulation largely conditions not only the intelligibility, but even validity of other doctrines whose practical importance is almost universally recognized. Yet it scarcely receives all the consideration it merits—not even at the hands of professional theologians; less still from preachers; least of all from the reading and thinking laity. Indeed at the present moment, an almost painful silence is observed regarding it.1 For this state of things several reasons may be assigned, to two or three of which it will be useful very briefly to refer, before entering upon the proper business of these pages.

In the view of some, it is irreverent for man to endeavor to unravel the inner mysteries of the Godhead. Here it behooves him rather to worship than to speculate! But, apart from the consideration that there is no necessary antagonism between speculation and reverence, it should

be remembered that it is not a question between doctrine and no doctrine, theory and no theory, but between a doctrine or theory worked out by human speculation centuries or decennia ago and one worked out by human speculation now. The people who say that it is irreverent now to investigate the nature of God, constantly have on their lips statements which embody the result of the similar irreverence of former generations of thinkers. If it was right for St. Augustine or Athanasius to investigate this subject, why should it not be right for us? The fact is, true reverence for the God who gave us the spirit of inquiry, and who has promised to make us “Sons knowing” instead of “servants” simply “obeying,” requires of this, yea, of every generation of Christian believers, that they do their utmost to give an answer to every man that asketh a reason of hope that is in them.2

Another reason for the neglect of the subject, is the notion that its discussion can serve no practical ends. What has the doctrine of the Trinity to do with the salvation of the soul, with the generation and sustenance of the Christian life? Directly, it may be, little; indirectly, much. Salvation, in individual men, does not depend on understanding or having a theory either of the Trinity or the Incarnation or the Atonement, any more than the nutrition of my particular body or the curing of my diseases depends on my understanding physiology or medicine. But as far as a generation or community of men is concerned, there can be no ...

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