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The Three-Personal God

We are up to chapter 3 in our discussion of Mere Theology: A Guide to the Thought of C. S. Lewis. Here are some discussion questions to get us started on this chapter on the Trinity:
  1. Do you think Norman Pittenger's criticism of Lewis's teaching on the Trinity was fair or not?
  2. Does Lewis's explanation of how the doctrine of the Trinity developed seem reasonable?
  3. Which one of Lewis's Trinitarian analogies best helps you to understand and embrace the Christian doctrine of the Trinity: the cube? the prayer closet? the books? the relationship between imagination, image and will? love? or the Great Dance? Why?
  4. What do you think of the Trinitarian images in Lewis's fiction? Do these images make the Trinity more attractive or understandable to you?
Feel free to chip in your thoughts apart from these questions, or raise a question of your own.


Anonymous said…
Before reading this chapter I regarded the Trinity as a peculiar and insignificant oddity of little potential spiritual value. Also I was once advised "not to worry about understanding the nature of God, but rather to find a God that understands me."
But after reading chapter 3, I got the impression that the Trinity, especially via the Great Dance analogy, can be a powerful concept.
Re 1) I think that the criticisms of the geometric analogy were probably fair. But I also was surprised that Lewis dealt with the six sides of a cube rather than the three axes (x,y,z) of the 3D Cartesian coordinate system.
2) Lewis's explanation of Trinity doctrine development (disciples becoming aware that a Holy Spirit was working inside of them) seems very reasonable to me.
3) I find the idea of the Great Dance very interesting. In fact it may have already influenced my behavior.
A few nights ago I attended an annual reunion of some people I worked with 35 years ago. (This group is shrinking rapidly, since many are now deceased.) One of those present suggested that next year we invite certain others we had interacted with, but who were not part of our organization.
I objected, since I was not well-acquainted with some of the proposed attendees and thought I probably would not like them.
Driving home, it occurred to me that my attitude might not be consistent with the idea of the Great Dance. I called our leader the next day and withdrew my objection.
Will Vaus said…
Browning, I'm so glad that this chapter, somehow, made the Trinity more real and personal to you.

I find what you say about the 3D Cartesian coordinate system very intriguing. I imagine Lewis didn't use that image because he wasn't very good at maths. It is surprising that he would use a geometrical analogy at all, considering that his failure at mathematics almost kept him out of Oxford!

What you say about the Great Dance and your reunion was very meaningful to me. All our accumulated knowledge of God should have that sort of practical effect. As Lewis says, all theology should be practical.

Thanks for sharing your keen insights!
KenTexts said…
Just read Lewis' reply to Pittenger's critique. I don't know whether Pittenger ever responded again to Lewis, to continue the debate, but Lewis's reply seemed rather devastating. Lewis had, rightly, very little patience with the vague trendy cliches that aimed at assserting as little as possible, or even at asserting quite the opposite of what they vaguely hinted at... such as Pittenger's comment on how Christians at all times and places have chosen to see God's activity in Jesus as a justification for their conceptualizing him as the God-Man. In other words, we don't really believe it, but we like the idea of people thinking so. Lewis was right to tear this double-talk apart, in his polite but intellectually merciless way.

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