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Wednesday
Oct082008

Theological Term of the Week

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economic Trinity
The Trinity as the three persons relate to each other and creation, with the different roles of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit in view.
  • From the Nicene Creed:

    I believe in one God, the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth, and of all things visible and invisible.

    And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the only-begotten Son of God, begotten of the Father before all worlds; God of God, Light of Light, very God of very God; begotten, not made, being of one substance with the Father, by whom all things were made.

    Who, for us men and for our salvation, came down from heaven, and was incarnate by the Holy Spirit of the virgin Mary, and was made man; and was crucified also for us under Pontius Pilate; He suffered and was buried; and the third day He rose again, according to the Scriptures; and ascended into heaven, and sits on the right hand of the Father; and He shall come again, with glory, to judge the quick and the dead; whose kingdom shall have no end.

    And I believe in the Holy Ghost, the Lord and Giver of Life; who proceeds from the Father and the Son; who with the Father and the Son together is worshipped and glorified; who spoke by the prophets.

  • From the Belgic Confession, Article 8:
    The Father is the cause, origin and beginning of all things visible and invisible; the Son is the word, wisdom, and image of the Father; the Holy Ghost is the eternal power and might, proceeding from the Father and the Son.
  • From Salvation Belongs to the Lord by John Frame, page 36:
    The economic Trinity….is the Trinity in relation to the creation. As we saw earlier, the three persons of the Trinity take on a sort of division of labor with regard to creation and redemption: the Father plans, the Son executes, the Spirit applies. In this great drama the Son voluntarily becomes subordinate to the Father. Jesus says he can do nothing of himself but what he sees the Father do (John 5:19). In John 5:30 he says, “I seek not my own will but the will of him who sent me.” The Father has commanded; the Son obeys. Similarly, the Holy Spirit, when Jesus and the Father send him into the world, “will not speak of his own authority, but whatever he hears, he will speak. and he will declare to you the things that are to come.” (John 16:13) See the order? The Father sends; Jesus and the Spirit are sent. The Father speaks of himself; the Son and Spirit speak the words the Father has given them to speak.
Learn more:
  1. R. C. Sproul: What’s the Difference Between the Ontological and Economic Trinity?
  2. Christian Apologetics and Research MinistryEconomic Trinity
  3. Bruce Ware: Equal in Essence, Distinct in Roles: Eternal Functional Authority and Submission among the Essentially Equal Divine Persons of the Godhead (mp3)
Related terms:

Do you have a a theological term you’d like to see featured here as a Theological Term of the Week? If you email it to me, I’ll seriously consider using it, giving you credit for the suggestion, and linking back to your blog when I do.

Clicking on the Theological Term graphic at the top of this post will take you to a list of all the previous theological terms in alphabetical order.

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