The whole doctrine of the Trinity is our attempt to name the God who has met us in Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ was not just an aspect of God or a good indicator of God; he was God. In him the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, all of the glory of God in him. (p13)
First – Willimon allows that the formulated doctrine of the Trinity is an ‘attempt.’ I’m fine with that, I guess. More fine than I would be if it was in a certain biblical studies book which I shall not mention. After all, Willimon is a theologian.
But, I digress and will move on through clenched teeth.
On page 15, Willimon goes on to state that “the most important decision in Christian theology is to decide whether you will speak of God as a person or as a concept, as a name or as an idea.” He further rails against ]]’s use of the term “ultimate reality” and instead demands that we name the Father and the Son (and the Spirit) which causes us to draw near to the movement of God upon the world. For Willimon, then, the idea of a personal Savior, which I myself find detestable, is feasible, but only in the corporate sense – that God wants to be personal, wants to be close to His creation. I can agree to that, I think, for the most part. The Greeks saw God as so transcendent that It needed an mediator (generally, the Logos). This was brought to us by the Hellenist philosophers who converted, such as Justin. In reading the Hebrew bible, I do not see a God so transcendent that He is unable to meet His creation or involve Himself in even the basest of material things. I see a God from the Hebrew tradition which walks, talks, and dwells with His people – that is until tradition required mediators.
In naming, there is a certain familiarity between the Christian and the Creator, and it is one which I think we often times surrender with a focus on the theological Trinity. An absentee Father is presented but that relationship is maintained by a Loving Son. Is this really how the Godhead works?