Contemporary Christian Thought
Azusa Pacific University
Dr. Craig Keen
March 30, 2004

I.   The language of the trinity is the language of Latin and Greek
A.   Western church
1.   One substantia (English = substance)
2.   Three personae (English = persons)
B.   Eastern church
1.   One ousia
2.   Three hypostaseis
C.   God the Father, Son, & Holy Spirit is called persons before human beings are to be called that
D.   This came to be understood as, what the God the Father is as God, is what God the Son is as God, which is what God the Holy Spirit is as God
E.   Personae vs. Hypostaseis
1.   Personae
a.   Originally it meant something like "mask" - could possibly mean the part of the fact around the eyes
b.   From that, it developed to describe a type of relationship shared between two people (like brother, uncle, aunt)
2.   Hypostaseis
a.   Literally means "to stand under" (substance)
b.   Reality - indicates that God is real
c.   Always used synonymously with the word ousia
d.   Over time this relationship dwindles and ousia is became more general and hypostaseis became more specific
F.   God is eternally on the way to the cross
II.   John Zizioulas
A.   If we push long and hard enough, we are capable of attaining something greater than being
B.   That which is greater than being is person
C.   He knows this sounds weird, however, he blames that on Greek philosophy coming through the generations
D.   Patristic Discussion of the Trinity
1.   Its an abused doctrine, it is abused because of neglect
2.   Questions leading to the doctrine of the trinity
a.   Deity of Christ - is Christ fully God?
i.   Homoousion to Patri - What God the Father is as God is what Jesus Christ is as God
ii.   Not two God - that isn't acceptable to them
b.   Holy Spirit is mentioned in passing
i.   Sovereign and giver of life
ii.   He is the one to be worship and glorified together like the Father and the Son