The doctrine of the Trinity attempts to describe how the one God is revealed as three distinct persons, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, and yet is one substance. The language of Father and Son could be viewed as implying a hierarchy within the Trinity. In this paper I will outline the problems with this interpretation and the use of figurative language when describing the orthodox understanding of the Godhead. After briefly presenting the historical and theological background to the doctrine of the Trinity and describing three common heresies I will explain how the language used to describe God can be regarded are hierarchical, and briefly touch on the problems of using everyday human language to describe the transcendent Trinity.
Writing • Theology
On these pages you will find a selection of my theological writing. These are essays I wrote while studying for a theology degree from the University of Chester.
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‘And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us’ (John 1:14). Saint Athanasius of Alexandria (c.296–373) took this verse from the Gospel of John in order to unpack his Christology of the incarnation. In this essay I will examine the work of Athanasius in order to study the claim that ‘The Word became flesh.’ Athanasius argued that God ‘became man, and did not come into man.’ The implications of his conviction are firstly, only God could save humanity and secondly, the Word was fully divine. I will assess the implications of Athanasius’ arguments in his treatise ‘On the Incarnation’ with reference to some of his other works.
Isaiah described Assyria as the ‘rod of YHWH’s anger’ (Isa 10:5). The Neo-Assyrian Empire was the dominant power during the period of First Isaiah. After discussing the historical, canonical and geopolitical background I will explain the imprint of the Assyrian Empire on the book of Isaiah. I will use 10:5-19 as a case study to demonstrate the impact and adaptation of imperial themes within the book.
Isaiah saw a vision of YHWH enthroned in glory and he was commissioned with an unusual task for a prophet – that is to harden the hearts of the people. Judgement had been passed on Israel and Isaiah was charged with communicating the verdict to the people in a manner that would ensure they would not repent. After examining the various scholarly proposals for the hardening motif in Isaiah 6, I will offer my own proposal that the commission to harden the hearts is as a direct result of the idolatry of the people. I will go on to describe how the hardening motif functions in this passage and in the rest of Isaiah.
Different types of literature can be categorised by their form, style or content. This is known as genre. The meaning of the text is embedded within the genre. The Bible contains literature from a number of genres. After providing a description of genre, I will assess its role in biblical interpretation using a pericope from Mark’s Gospel to demonstrate how genre impacts reading and meaning. I will conclude with describing the effect that genre has on teaching from this text.
The question of how to read the Bible today is one of how we view the authority of Scripture. Can the stories in the Bible be applied to our present situation, and if they can how should we interpret them today? N.T. Wright has suggested that the Bible is a drama in five acts – Creation, Fall, Israel, Jesus and the Church. The fifth act is unfinished and it is for the reader to enter into the drama and then to complete the story.