cjbanning: (Trinity)
[personal profile] cjbanning
I've talked a lot in this journal about the Trinity as "perichoretic dialectic of conversation," and the implications that holds for Christian community and our understanding of the relationship between scripture, tradition, and reason. I've also repeatedly critiqued the notion of individual salvation (although have stopped short of denying it altogether), most recently in the sermon I preached at Ascension last month.

What I haven't done, yet, is connect the two notions. But over at Realiter Loquendo, Paul Hunter does a good job of it:
the Trinity, which together with the Incarnation, is one of the central mysteries of Christianity, totally excludes individualism. It may be that there are individualistic Christians, but the Christian God is not a monad. Unlike Buddhism, Christianity teaches that God is personal, but God is not a single person, because such a being is finally unthinkable. To be a person is always to be in communion with other persons.

The practical meaning of this is that "individual salvation" is something of an oxymoron. As human beings we are made in the image of the Trinity, and so we can only be saved - in fact we can only really be human - by being in communion with others and with God. To be a human being fully alive we must pour out our lives in obedience and love to God, and service to our neighbors.
This is an elaboration of Hunter's previous explanation:
Christianity is the only religion I know of in which God is a community. God is Trinity and not a monad. Part of what that means is that individualism is totally excluded. A person alone is no person; if that is true for God how much more so for [God's] creatures.
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"This is my prayer: that your love may overflow more and more with knowledge and full insight to help you to determine what is best."
-- St. Paul's Epistle to the Philippians 1:9-10

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