The Trinity Imaged in Our Humanity

I'm reading Like, Father, Like Son, the Trinity Imaged in Our Humanity by Tom Smail (pictured left) who presently serves as senior visiting research fellow at Kings College in London. I think Smail does an excellent job of exegeting from a trinitarian perspective the scriptural teaching concerning humankind created in God's image. In short, his thesis is this: the image that humankind is given in creation and that is restored in redemption is the image of the Father, Son and Spirit - the tri-personal God revealed to us in Jesus.

He notes that we image God in two ways: in God's oneness (which is his three in oneness in perichoretic relatedness); and in God's threeness (the distinctive qualities and roles of each person of the triune God).

Smail then explores the implications of this triune image of God as it is expressed in and through various aspects of our humanity. Concerning the imaging of the Holy Spirit in our humanity (inclusive of human culture) he says the following on pp. 196-7:
...In every period and in every controversy [of church history] the creative Spirit has been at work and has led the Church to an outcome in which the gospel is indeed reinterpreted in a way that enables it to address the concerns of the culture but that is faithful to its origin in Christ. In him all human cultures are judged with the penetrating truth and the immeasurable mercy that define God's relationship to his people, and point them to transformations that will lead them toward a fulfilment that they cannot find immanently in themselves...We become aware of a process of sifting and discernment in which the Spirit is the hidden participant in the debate, sorting out what is valid and what is invalid in seemingly irreconcilable opinions and leading toward an ultimate solution in which the mind of God in a particular area of faith and practice can be more faithfully and relevantly apprehended and obeyed....In all these ways the Spirit whose being is characterized by the sovereign divine love expressing itself in terms of transforming creativity, reflects himself in the human activity that stems from the human life which is his gift (Gen. 2:7)...We fail to reflect what the Spirit does in what we do when our actions are not characterized either by creative freedom or transforming love, when we have neither the courage nor the imagination to engage with the status quo in hope of moving it toward God's purpose for it.

Comments

  1. For a review of Smail's book by Peter Leithart, see http://www.leithart.com/archives/002723.php

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  2. Dave Gilbert10/08/2009

    Hey Ted--You may also be interested in reading "Praying with Paul," by Tom Smail. One statement that grabbed me about prayer was that we pray to the Father, with Jesus, in the Spirit.

    Smail has also co-authored a book called "Charismatic Renewal: The Search for a Theology", constructively yet lovingly critiquing some of the shortcomings of the charismatic movement.

    Dave

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  3. Thanks for your comment David. I have benefited greatly from reading Smail.

    -Ted

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