Williams on the Trinity; religious dialogue with Islam

Rowan Williams responded to the Common Word letter from several dozen Muslim scholars, and there is a very nice section in his response about the Trinity, which follows:

Because God exists in this threefold pattern of interdependent action, the relationship between Father, Son and Holy Spirit is one in which there is always a ‘giving place’ to each other, each standing back so that the other may act. The only human language we have for this is love: the three dimensions of divine life relate to each other in self-sacrifice or self-giving. The doctrine of the Trinity is a way of explaining why we say that God is love, not only that he shows love.

That having been said, need I mention that inter-religious dialogue only happens in places where Muslims are a minority? Islam, in the end I suspect, has no use for such dialogue.

I have written about this topic in Islam and the Other Religions.


charles said…
You may not be aware of significant inter-religious dialogue efforts presently occurring in Iran, Egypt, and the Gulf to name a few. Many of these are not initiated by Christians and/or Western entities.

I find it difficult to reconcile your last statements ("...inter-religious dialogue only happens...." and "Islam...has no use....") with history. I agree a bit more with your post that you link to.
xtc said…
Just gobbledigook. The Trinity makes no sense. No one has ever been able to explain it.
Don said…
I'm not a fan of Rowan Williams, but his linking the Trinity with love in God is an interesting double opposition to the Muslim concept of God.

My own attempt to explain--or expound on--the Trinity is here.
Abu Daoud said…
XTC:On the contrary, the Trinity is the key to understanding the answer to the great mystery of the one and the many that was posed and contemplated by such brilliant minds as Parmenides and Plato.

It also provides an account for the simultaneous similarity and uniqueness of every human being.

I would be curious to know if you have ever read any Trinitarian theology. A good book to start with is Colin Gunton's "The Promise of Trinitarian Theology" which I will purchase for you if you promise to read it.

In any case, the eternality of Allah and the orthodox doctrine that the Quran is not Allah, yet is eternal with him, is equally mystifying, but unlike the Christian doctrine does not provide any great insights into metaphysics or anthropology or aesthetics.

Charles: I would be curious to hear about some of these initiatives, I know of none at all that were not initiated at the instigation of someone in the West.

Don: will check out your musings.
Brett said…
The Trinity is a wonderful answer to that question of "who was God loving before HE created man." Without it it you have a God who is creating someone to love and worship HIM.

There was already that love, unity, and community in the Trinity.

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