TRINITARIAN THEOLOGY AND CHRISTIAN SELF-UNDERSTANDING: EXAMINING THE THEOLOGICAL AND PHILOSOPHICAL IMPLICATIONS OF A RELATIONAL TRINITY IN RESPONSE TO FUNCTIONAL SUBORDINATIONISM
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AuthorBlanton, Rachel Grace
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TitleTRINITARIAN THEOLOGY AND CHRISTIAN SELF-UNDERSTANDING: EXAMINING THE THEOLOGICAL AND PHILOSOPHICAL IMPLICATIONS OF A RELATIONAL TRINITY IN RESPONSE TO FUNCTIONAL SUBORDINATIONISM
AbstractIn the conservative evangelical Church, a growing argument has been made for a hierarchical Trinity in which the Son is eternally subordinated to the Father in role and function, which pits itself against the trinitarian doctrine established by the early Church through the Nicene Creed. This conception of a hierarchical Trinity is often known as subordinationism or functional subordinationism, which brings into question the nature and role of Christ within the Godhead and in relation to humanity. The Council of Nicaea in 325 CE solidified and legitimated the beginnings of Trinitarian doctrine, established the nature of Christ, and yielded the Nicene Creed, which made the Church’s stance on the Trinity permanent: the Godhead is of one substance. Subordinationism believes in tandem with Christ’s subordinate role that women are to be subordinate to men, which has deep reverberations in the personal lives of Christians, the greater Church, and society. Two case studies will be analyzed: the 2022 Dobbs v. Jackson ruling, which overturned Roe v. Wade, and evangelical “role relationship” theology. This thesis has both theological and philosophical goals. The theological goals are to firmly establish an understanding that the Triune God exists through the relationship of the three divine Persons by using the works of modern Protestant, Catholic, and eastern Orthodox theologians and to explore the nature and soteriological work of Christ. Philosophically, this work looks to Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel to understand the nature of Christ expressed through the Infinite’s desire for reconciliation of the finite via the incarnation. This work finds overwhelming support for a relational Trinity established through theological and philosophical thought and connects the two through Christ to explain how our understanding of Christ’s role in the Trinity reverberates into our own lives and that the Trinity acts as a model for human relations. Lastly, this work will look toward the eschaton and the missional role of the Triune God in reconciliation, which has profound implications for understanding our God in relation.
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