Our Beautiful God

From “Flame of Love:
A Theology of the Holy Spirit”
by Clark H. Pinnock, 1937-2010

The social Trinity depicts God as beautiful and supremely lovable. God is not a featureless monad, isolated and motionless, but a dynamic event of loving actions and personal relationality. What loveliness and sheer liveliness God is! We praise the Father, who is primordial light and unoriginated being, absolute mystery, without beginning or end. We praise our Lord Jesus Christ, everlasting Son of the Father, who lives in fellowship with the Father, ever responding to his love. We praise the Spirit, the Lord and giver of life, who is breathed out everlastingly, living, ecstatic, flaming. Each person of the Trinity exists eternally with the others, each has its gaze fixed on the others, each casts a glance away from itself in love to the others, the eye of each lover ever fixed on the beloved other.

Atheism is partly the result of bad theology, an unpaid bill resulting from failures in depicting God. How often have people been given the impression of God as a being exalting himself at our expense! One might be afraid of such a God, but no one would be attracted to love him. So often lacking has been the vision of the triune God as an event of open, dynamic, loving relations. It is not surprising that many have rejected God when there has been so little to attract them to him. Perhaps they would not reject as readily the God disclosed in Jesus Christ, who is an event of loving relationality and relates readily to the temporal world.

The God of revelation is not distant from the world and untouched by its suffering. God cares for the world; it matters much to him. Prayer is a wonderful indicator of how God relates to the world. In asking us to pray and request things to happen, God invites us to join in shaping the future. Prayer reveals God as flexible in his planning and open in regard to what will happen. It indicates that the relationship between God and humanity is truly personal and that both are, in their own way, agents who make a difference to outcomes in a nondeterministic world.

Theology ought to be beautiful because its subject is so beautiful.

Augustine exclaimed, “Too late did I love thee, O Fairness, so ancient yet so new” (Confessions 10.27).

Barth comments, “Sulky faces, morose thoughts and boring ways of thinking are intolerable in this science.”

Theology can be beautiful as it focuses on the beauty of God and the treasures of this relational ontology.

Hindrances to faith in God seldom have to do with a lack of proofs. Most people believe God exists because of the sense of divinity in them. Hindrances to faith have more to do with the quality of our theism. Theology has to do not with whether God is, but with who God is. Theology gains credibility when we have a doctrine of God that one can fall in love with.

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