Exploring the Movement of the Inner Life of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit
This paper seeks to explore the movement of the inner trinitarian persons, by considering how the self-moving God of the Trinity moves himself actively and is moved by himself passively ad intra and introducing a new way of understanding the way in which the eternal actions (and corresponding passions) of the divine persons condition one another – the “dynamic reciprocity model.” At least three models of God are discussed in the domain of the theology proper: the unmoved Mover (Aquinas), self-moved Mover (Barth), and most Mover (Pinnock).
This paper follows the self-moved Mover model and explores that the self-movement of the triune God can also be considered with reference to the personal movements of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, who move themselves and are moved by one another. The dynamic reciprocity model seeks to offer a new way of thinking about the self-movement and reciprocal relations of the divine three persons of the immanent and economic Trinity, as a heuristic means of reflecting further on the life of the immanent Trinity and of assigning a more dynamic and direct role to the eternal action and eternal passion of the three triune persons. An action implies a prior intention and movement to act, and a passion indicates a subsequent or caused movement and being acted upon. It does so by suggesting that in eternity, passion can be considered as prior to action (and vice versa) and that both eternal action and eternal passion function in similar, if logically opposite, ways.
This construal of the eternal action and eternal passion of the Father, Son and Spirit as set forth in the dynamic reciprocity model has three particular advantages. First, God can be perceived in a more trinitarian fashion than a concept of God as pure act allows. This traditional conception of pure act suggests that divine passion or receiving were somehow alien to him or inappropriate for him. God’s full relationality in se is helpfully emphasised through the dynamic reciprocity model where eternal action and passion are both considered as divine movements that have equal value and function. A second advantage is that applying the dynamic reciprocity model can help to illuminate the reciprocal interplay among the trinitarian persons both in se and ad extra. Employing the dynamic reciprocity model will allow deeper consideration of how the triune persons exist in their inner fellowship with one another, engage in redemptive operations and interact with human beings. A third advantage is that the dynamic reciprocity model allows for a new perspective upon God’s eternal reality. Eternity is God’s incommunicable attribute, an attribute which belongs to him alone and is beyond the scope of human understanding. This new way of discussing God’s eternal action and passion functions as a creative way to reflect on the mystery of the eternal operation of the inner trinitarian persons.