Tuesday, August 16, 2016

John C. Cooper on Names for the TRES PERSONAE

John C. Cooper (Professor of philosophical theology at Calvin
Theological Seminary) contends that the triune name for God (Father,
Son and Holy Spirit) cannot be replaced salva veritate. Names or titles such as Lover, Beloved, and Love (Augustine of Hippo) or Source, Word and Comforter do not adequately describe God and neither does the language, "God, Christ and Spirit" as Cooper explains:

"God, Christ, and Spirit is also impeccably biblical (cf. 2 Cor.
13:14). Moreover, this formula uses personal names or titles. But it
is not equivalent to the triune name. For taken on its own, it seems
to imply that Christ and the Spirit are not God. That implication
might not be disastrous for Christ as a referent to the human nature
of Jesus. But it still leaves the Holy Spirit out of the Godhead. It
also juxtaposes God with the humanity of Jesus, failing to communicate
that Jesus is God the Son. Though this trio of terms is biblical, it
is not even close to the meaning of the triune name. Like the other
formulas, it depends on the triune name to be understood in a
trinitarian sense" (Our Father in Heaven: Christian Faith and
Inclusive Language for God
. Grand Rapids: Baker, 1998), page 212.

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