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Like Father, Like SonThe image of God

The doctrine of the Trinity is not marginal but central to the faith. Like Father Like Son, by Tom Smail (Paternoster, 2005, ISBN 1-84227-342-6) shows the vital relevance of that truth to the human condition and human relationships.

It shows how, in order to be truly human, we must reflect the initiating love of the Father, the responsive love of the Son and the creative love of the Holy Spirit, and how this is possible through what God has done in the act of redemption. The book challenges, on this basis, the sinful individualism of the Western world. It is deep stuff, but deeply warming and challenging. Read it!

Love is the abolition of solitariness, and, at the same time, the creator and the manifestation of unity. Thus the Father and Son in the dynamic of their love eternally give themselves the one to the other in a way that expresses their indivisible oneness and their intrinsic two-ness. It takes two to love but, in loving, these two show that they are one.  (p75)

God's will in Christ is for the right relationships of distinct persons with him and with others because he himself is constituted by right relationships between the distinct persons of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.  (p85)

Even when we are most aware of the faceless forces that determine us, we never entirely lose the awareness that we are not passive objects at their mercy but active subjects with minds to comprehend what is happening to us and to determine our responses to it and with wills to intervene at some point in the causal chain of events and take action to move them in the direction we intend.  (p128)

Body, soul and spirit are not separable components of a complex individual self, but are descriptions of the one self in the different sets of relationships in which it stands to the world (body), to itself (soul), and to God (spirit).  (p151)

When the Father gives the Spirit to us through the Son, it is not that he should do a new work that somehow supersedes or complements that of the Son, but rather that he should explore, expose, and apply all that is latent in what the Son has already done.  (p184)

The mission of the church, executed in the power of the love of God, is to baptise people into the relationships with Father, Son, and Holy Spirit that constitute the new humanity so that they become as initiating as the Father, as responsive as the Son, and as creative as the Spirit and so bring to fulfilment what has been implicit in creation, marred in sin, and restored, renewed, and completed in Christ.  (p293)

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