- Paperback: 260 pages
- Publisher: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company (1 Dec. 1998)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0802845754
- ISBN-13: 978-0802845757
- Product Dimensions: 15.9 x 1.7 x 23.5 cm
- Average Customer Review: 2 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 925,723 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
The Triune Creator: A Historical and Systematic Study (Edinburgh Studies in Constructive Theology) Paperback – 1 Dec 1998
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This book provides a theological history of the Christian doctrine of creation and explores the implications of the doctrine for our modern scientific age. Colin Gunton begins by looking at the origins of the doctrine of creation in the Bible and relating the biblical view to Greek cosmology. He then examines the history of the doctrine, showing how theologians from Irenaeus to Barth have spoken of creation. Gunton argues that early in the development of the doctrine serious mistakes were made that have led to highly problematic outcomes, such as the divorce of theology from science. In the closing chapters Gunton focuses on related themes, such as providence, eschatology, and the ethics of creation.
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Gunton then sets the stage by showing the biblical context out of which the doctrine of Trinitarian Creation was realized. Old Testament. God's creation is rooted historically. It is not eternal. New Testament. God freely willed creation. velation 4:11). Christ is the mediator and sustainer of creation (Heb. 1:2).Christ's miracles over demons is a oretaste of the future liberation of creation (Romans 8).As Christ is the mediator of creation, the Holy Spirit is the animator of it. This ties together in the resurrection of Christ.The freedom of God in the created order. The destiny of the created order is related to the resurrection of Christ.
Next he examines the Greek Worldview, showing it be pessimistic and dualistic, incapable of answering the ultimate questions. Ontology:
Pantheism: Is the universe divine?
If God is not personal creator, we then have an impersonal force governing reality (c.f. John Frame, Apologetics to the Glory of God, p.35-40 for an excellent discussion of personality and deity). To personalise the non-personal is to succumb to crude forms of superstition.Only a theology which distinguishes God from the world ontologically justifies the practices of science.
What's interesting, however, is what Gunton did not say. If we are talking about Pantheism and combatting it with a Personal creating God, then this is an excellent moment to bring up discussions of absolute divine simplicity, which Gunton did not do
The Hero of the study is Irenaeus. Trinitarian Mediation: Irenaus of Lyons
If God the Son takes upon himself a material body, then nothing material can be intrinsically bad. God creates out of nothing. There are no degrees of being but only two realities: God and everything else. Although very good, creation, even before the fall, was not yet complete and perfected. It is waiting for an eschatological perfection. Salvation is that which returns creation to its directed purpose. The world is to be understood as a process, but not--as in contemporary process theologians--a linear process.
Okay, a few problems with Gunton's ontology and reading of Irenaeus. Yes, there are only two different realities (Creator and created), but there are "folds" within the latter reality (e.g., the realm of angels and the multiple dimensions that ascetics experience). Secondly, in (rightly) making Irenaeus the hero of his study, how can one really talk about Irenaeus without devoting most of the discussion on "recapitulation?" A curious omission.
All in all it was a fascinating study, save a few faults. He tried his darndest to exonerate Darwin, to no avail. Despite all of Gunton's brilliant reasoning--and mind you he is sharp--Darwin, given Gunton's own admissions elsewhere, could not account for human personality and dignity given his premises.
Gunton weaves together both Historical and Systematic Theology to present a case for understanding the Trinity and Creation. He intertestingly notes that when the doctrine of the Trinity fell into dispute or was just placed upon the shelves of church history to collect dust that the effect was evident upon man.
Only a proper understanding of the Trinity will bring balance between the transcedence and immanence of God. God and his relation to his creation can only be properly understood when God is Trinity
This is an excellent book, but one that will take work to get through. In the end the effort put out will be worth while.