Beyond Personality: C. S. Lewis On God As Tri-Personal -- By: Donald T. Williams
C. S. Lewis On God As Tri-Personal
R. A. Forrest Scholar, Toccoa Falls College
Past President, International Society of Christian Apologetics
Donald T. Williams (BA Taylor University, MDiv Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, PhD University of Georgia) is R. A. Forrest Scholar at Toccoa Falls College in the hills of northeastern Georgia. He is an ordained minister in the Evangelical Free Church of America and past president of the International Society of Christian Apologetics. He is the author of ten books, most recently Deeper Magic: The Theology behind the Writings of C. S. Lewis (Baltimore: Square Halo Books, 2016).
[This article is adapted from Dr. Williams’s recent book Deeper Magic: The Theology behind the Writings of C. S. Lewis (Baltimore: Square Halo Books, 2016), and is used by permission.]
C. S. Lewis makes two contributions to our understanding of the doctrine of the Trinity. First, he gives us a concept of “concrete transcendence.” God’s transcendence for Lewis is the very opposite of abstraction or nebulosity, but rather it describes Him as the Father of all Facthood, a Being more solid, more real, and more “minutely articulated” than the physical reality we know with our senses. Second, he helps us see how the doctrine of the Trinity is about the way in which this minutely articulate Being is personal. Part of the reality that He is more real than we are, not less, is the way in which He is more personal than we are, not less. He is beyond Reason but not contrary to Reason; He is beyond Reason in a way that makes sense to Reason.
One of the most difficult concepts of Christian theology is the doctrine of the Trinity.1 Trying to get one’s head around how God can be one and three at the same time has occasioned many headaches in the last two millennia of church history. Fortunately, we have one of the best explainers of difficult ideas in C. S. Lewis. Lewis’s exposition of the Trinity is a model of clarity and profundity.
The word trinity blends the roots tri, three, and unity, one, to express the belief that God is one Being who exists in three Persons, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Historic Christians do not confess God as triune out of love of either paradox or perversity; rather, they try to be faithful to the data of Scripture. How does that lead to their confession of the Trinity? The whole reason Christianity exists as something distinct from Judaism is that certain first-century Jews found themselves compelled to worship the man Jesus as God by everything they had experienced about who He was and what He di...
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