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The Johannine of Augustine's Trinity: a dogmatic sketch.

THE NECESSITY OF A PROPER ACCOUNT of Augustine's trinitarian theology for the present dogmatic context is discernible in calls from both sympathizers (1) and those who disparage him as the progenitor of a dubious legacy. (2) In a context broader than merely trinitarian (or even explicitly dogmatic) concerns, Augustine is also a conversation partner of 20th century intellectual developments and the postmodern turn. (3) Though a Nicene formula is not apparent in discourses about these developments, their pertinence to contemporary trinitarian dogmatics is ignored with expense. Issues of hermeneutics, love, and the nature of the self are properly trinitarian in an Augustinian framework, and to divorce them from this context is to misunderstand Augustine's project. What is needed, for both overtly trinitarian concerns and a wider superset of dogmatic questions, is an appraisal of Augustine's trinitarian logic. As the doctor of grace has paradigmatically shaped the discussion of agency and sovereignty in Western theological discourse, so also his trinitarian logic is prototypical and equally indispensable.

The commonplace distinction between Western tri-unity and Eastern tri-unity is simply inadequate for the task of explication. In the same way, a supposed Augustinian turn to introspection and divine immanence cannot be said to impinge substantially upon Augustine's trinitarian theology as dynamically soteriological, however much this diagnosis may be helpful in understanding the wider shifts of later Western thought. The idea of "a Trinity which is absolutely locked within itself" (4) identified in Augustine's work by Karl Rahner is foreign to an honest reading of Augustine's De Trinitate; also foreign is Rahner's characterization of the "psychological" Trinity, supposedly introducing through Augustine an anthropomorphic introspection that becomes the downfall of all subsequent Western (Victorine excepted) models of trinitarian discourse. (5)

Such formulas are, at best, overgeneralizations that do more to confuse than elucidate; at worst they are simply incorrect. Yet, despite their pervasiveness over the past century and especially more recently through Colin Gunton, (6) Jurgen Moltmann, (7) and others, the sharp East-West dichotomy guiding such readings of Augustinian and Cappadocian trinitarianism no longer enjoys its previous status. This is not to say that the issue is resolved, or even that a substantial reassessment of Augustine is yet complete. However, a weighty initial response has been voiced. Michel Rene Barnes and Lewis Ayres present a compelling "fundamentally proNicene trinitarianism" (8) in Augustine, which has made its impact on other secondary literature (9) and has shaped my own conception of Augustine's trinitarian logic. The problem, even amidst the present flourishing of Augustinian and post-Nicene scholarship, is diagnosed well by Ayres: "Unfortunately, the critique of Augustine's trinitarianism to be found in much modern theological writing does not occur actively against this recent trend in Augustinian scholarship--engaging directly and in detail with original texts and attempting to refute these new scholarly arguments--but largely in ignorance of it." (10)

My article contributes to present scholarship by engaging Augustine's use of the Johannine corpus in his trinitarian theology and arguing for a significantly Johannine logic in his articulation of a "fundamentally pro-Nicene trinitarianism." Such a thesis does not discount examination of Augustine's other biblical sources. Viable avenues of inquiry include the exegetical influence of the Philippian Christ-hymn on Augustine's Servant-Lord Christology, 1 Corinthians 13:12 on his trinitarian-epistemological concerns (and Genesis 1:27 as these concerns relate to the imago Dei), and Wisdom 8:1 on Augustine's Wisdom Christology (which carries methodological implications for his Pneumatology). The importance of Johannine influence, though, is that it demonstrates a logic rather than simply an argument in Augustine's trinitarian theology. I contend that present in this theology is an exegetically-based structure on the same scale as divine simplicity, the vestigia Trinitatis, or the rule of Epistle 11, (11) and that its unique contribution to Augustine's Trinity as dynamic and soteriologically oriented (12) makes examination indispensable for the current state of research.

I describe Johannine logic in three stages, each corresponding to a "movement" in John's Gospel. The first movement consists of the Son's procession from the Father in eternity and his incarnation in time, found primarily in John's Prologue but also revealed when Christ discusses his origination from the Father (Jn 12:47-50, 8:25, etc.). The second movement also involves the Pater-Filius relationship, now a matter of the Son's incarnate state where he is equal to and less than the Father according to the double rule of the christological forms. Various statements of Christ's earthly ministry are central, with John 10:30 and 14:28 offering the paradigmatic scope through which this movement can be comprehended. Finally, the foundational binitarianism essential to the Johannine trinitarian logic is completed with the pneumatological ministry of enlightening love. Augustine's Pneumatology focuses particularly on the love motif of 1 John, which allows the believer to "abide" in what has already been presented in the first half of the epistle and the Gospel, that the Son has been sent by the Father. This logic is strongly exegetical, but in a wider canonical sense than the simple commentative reading found in the tractates on John (which I will employ sparingly to clarify points of De Trinitate). I argue that this exegetical move is central for Augustine, and demonstrate this fact through a dogmatic sketch of his trinitarian logic which underscores its dependence on the Johannine corpus.

In attempting to identify Augustine's logic with John's, I highlight aspects of Augustinian trinitarian theology that are often neglected in current scholarship. The question of trinitarian economy voiced powerfully by Rahner has already been mentioned. Augustine is also accused of an inadequate Pneumatology, because of either simple neglect, or his affirmation of the filioque, or the "reduction" of the Holy Spirit to "donum" and especially "caritas" between the Father and Son. These emphases appear not only to deemphasize the Spirit's personal nature, but also to subordinate the Third Person in the face of the First and Second Persons. A general suspicion of a turn to monadic divinity is also present, which in Augustine (so the explanation goes) remains overly concerned with divine simplicity and in later development entirely abandons not only trinitarian dynamism but the trinitarian framework outright.

These doubts concerning Augustine are helpfully answered when his articulation of Johannine theology is examined as a wider framework through which his De Trinitate and his trinitarian work as a whole unfold. By identifying an underlying Johannine scheme, the formulation of Augustine's theology is set in a new exegetical light, one that is manifestly pertinent to the current reassessment of his doctrine of the Trinity.


The presentation of the Trinity in John's Gospel and first Epistle is a progressive narrative of divine interaction that establishes itself in the relationship between Christ and the Father and is brought to fullness in the pneumatological implications and outworking of the Pater-Filius relationship. Augustine follows this logic not to the detriment of his Pneumatology, but in recognition of an established order. The "Spirit of the Father and of the Son" (13) is necessarily defined by this initial relationship, just as the Son is understood in terms of his generation, that is, the initial Pater-Filius relationship that situates the Son as "of" or "from" the Father. (14) Concerning this relationship, Augustine writes: "We do, after all, call the Son God from God, but the Father we simply call God, not from God. Thus it is clear that the Son has another from whom he is and whose Son he is, while the Father does not have a Son from whom he is, but only whose Father he is. Every son gets being what he is from his father, and is his father's son; while no father gets being what he is from his son, though he is his son's father." (15)

Augustine goes on to cite John 16:14-15 to demonstrate the work of the Spirit, who shares all things that belong to the Father. The Father-Spirit relationship is analogical to the Pater-Filius relationship, which is foundational to the Spirit's procession ex patre filioque. "[Christ] gives his reason for saying, [the Spirit] will receive of mine; namely, All that the Father has is mine; that is why I said he will receive of mine. And so we are left to understand that the Holy Spirit has [all that the Father has] just like the Son." While the ministry of the Spirit is the glorification of the Son, this office does not imply subordination, because "it is as proceeding from the Father that [the Spirit] is said not to speak from himself," in the same way that the Son can do nothing apart from the Father (Jn 5:19) based on his generation ex patre. (16)

Within this order, Augustine preserves unity according to the divine essence. He quotes John 10:30 to assert this unity between the Father and the Son: "It is in this sense that [John] says I and the Father are one; 'are one' means 'What he is, that I am too by way of being, not by way of relationship.'" (17) Again, the Pater-Filius logic is foundational for the pneumatological: "just as the Father, then, begot and the Son was begotten, so the Father sent and the Son was sent. But just as the begetter and the begotten are one, so are the sender and the sent, because the Father and the Son are one; so too the Holy Spirit is one with them, because these three are one." (18)

Thus the relational structure of the Trinity is balanced in Johannine terms, with the Pater-Filius relationship being foundational to the pneumatological fulfillment of trinitarian life. Generation and procession define the trinitarian God of simplicity, God of him who is "simply call[ed] God, not from God." The general structure is linked with Augustine's doctrine of simplicity as well as the inseparability of operations established in Epistle 11, and the resultant doctrine of procession from the Son is also present. Nonetheless, the logic of a foundational Pater-Filius relationship on which a pneumatological fulfillment is established is laid out in entirely exegetical terms, and it can be examined as a Johannine construct independently from (though always in conversation with) the logic of simplicity and operational inseparability that more commonly characterizes accounts of Augustine's Trinity.

With the basic structure of Johannine-Augustinian trinitarian relations laid out, a closer examination of exegetical interaction with the Johannine corpus is possible. I conduct this inquiry in three stages. First, I define the initial Pater-Filius relationship in terms of the begetting of the Son. This definition primarily involves attention to John's Prologue and extend from the Son as "eternally begotten" to the trinitarian acts of creation and incarnation. Second, I pursue the Pater-Filius relationship beyond the events of creation and incarnation to its sustained articulation in Augustine's Christology. Here I examine the christological dialectic of John 10:30 and 14:28, as well as other relevant passages, and propose a nuanced articulation of subordination/equality themes in Augustine. Finally, I explore Augustine's Pneumatology as a fulfillment of the Pater-Filius relationship that is articulated in accordance with the witness of 1 John and relevant Gospel passages. In the process, I discuss the significance of this Pneumatology for Augustine's trintiarian theology alongside the christological aspects of its soteriological trajectory.


Augustine sees the Son first of all as eternally begotten of the Father. It is in this sense that he is God from God, as in the creed and De Trinitate 2.2. This generation is nontemporal and analogous to the procession of the Spirit. Augustine writes: "anyone who can understand the generation of the Son from the Father as timeless should also understand the procession of the Holy Spirit from them both as timeless." (19)

Generation itself is the basic framework of trinitarian distinction apart from the economic contexts of creation, incarnation, and glorification within which the Pater-Filius relationship operates. Yet the Father's begetting of the Son should be understood as separate from these only insofar as generation is outside of time. In this sense Augustine says, "the Son of God is not said to be sent in the very fact that he is born of the Father," (20) offering John 16:28 in support of a separation between the "[coming] forth from the Father," which is eternal, and his "[coming] into the world," which occurs at the proper time. Wisdom 9:10 also provides support by articulating both a presence and a separate sending to labor. Augustine reads this passage as specifically referring to human perception of the Son as Son. (21)

Certain aspects of Sonship are connected to eternal generation, such as the reception of the Father's commandment/word. The discussion of the judgment in John 12:47-50 presents the task of condemnation as separated from the Son insofar as it is not his authority but the Father's that judges; at the same time the word of the Father is the Son. The Son both does and does not judge, and his generation is the locus of reception of the word of the Father for this judgment,

for if he speaks the Father's word, he speaks himself because he is the Father's Word. He often says, the Father has given me, by which he wants it to be understood that the Father has begotten him. This is not a case of giving something to someone who already exists and has not got it; here, giving him something to have is begetting him to be. The Son of God, the only-begotten through whom all things were made, is not like a creature (not at least before his incarnation and his taking on of a creature) in that what he is differs from what he has; what he is is the very same as what he has. (22)

Augustine moves from discussing the word given to the Son to an example that is "stated more clearly." Again citing John's Gospel, Augustine argues that Christ is given life from the Father which he has in himself. (23) The life given to Christ is therefore his coeternally with the Father's. The unity present in this reception corresponds to the divine essence, though occasioned by the Pater-Filius relation in eternity. "When the Son said, As the Father has life in himself, so he has given the Son to have life in himself, he did not mean that the Father gave life to the Son already existing without life, but that he begot him timelessly in such a way that the life which the Father gave the Son by begetting him is co-eternal with the life of the Father who gave it." (24)

Augustine affirms the eternal generation of the Son in conversation with his word and his life, which he receives in eternity and possesses in such a way that he is the reception itself. In an abnormal translation of John 8:25, (25) Christ is quoted as responding to the question of his identity: "He replied, 'The origin, because I am also speaking to you.'" (26) This is spoken relative to the creation, from which perspective the Son is seen as beginning with the Father of all that is made.

The same originary identity is affirmed in Augustine's examination of John's Prologue, which shapes much of his articulation of the Pater--Filius relationship in the creation and incarnation. In De Trinitate 1.9 Augustine counters the arguments of the Arians (27) by pointing out that the Word was in the beginning with God and was God, of the same substance. He attributes the whole of creation to the Word and thus denies any creation of the Word: "By all things [Christ] means only what has been made, that is every creature. So it is crystal clear that he through whom all things were made was not made himself." (28) This point is reaffirmed in De Trinitate 1.12, where the words "all things that were made" are absent from the quotation, though Augustine asserts that 1 Corinthians 8:6 intends what John's Prologue does.

Christ's claim that he is the beginning, which Augustine takes from John 8:25, is to be understood as an affirmation of his identity as the Creator. Augustine continues by questioning whether Christ is the origin of the Father or of the creation: "But surely not the origin of the Father? No, he wanted to indicate that he is the creator when he said he was the origin, just as the Father is the origin of creation because all things are from him." (29)

The begetting of the Son is therefore eternal; it is "without time." He is not the beginning relative to the Father, of whom he is eternally begotten; rather he is in the beginning with the Father and he is the beginning with the Father, relative to creation. The act of creation, then, initiates the temporal sphere within which the Son operates who was begotten "without time."

Within time, the eternal Son completes in his creation what was given to him in eternity by the Father. Augustine discusses the scriptural association of Christ with Wisdom, also mentioning John 5:2 and 1 John 1:5 to show that he is likewise life and light, which is given to him in eternity to have in himself. He is "light of light" because he is not the beginning of the Father, but is light in himself because he is the beginning with the Father. John's Prologue again contributes to the logic, where the Word is understood as, "the true light which enlightens every man as he comes into this world." (30) The eternal Word is truly so in eternity, but also pro nobis. Augustine strongly affirms a relationship between creation and the Word's incarnation, "because we turn to him in time, that is[,] at a particular moment of time, in order to abide with him for ever. And at a certain moment of time he too, the Word, was made flesh and dwelt among us." (31)

Augustine's orientation of the creation and incarnation toward christological concerns finds exegetical articulation in his consideration of John 1:10-11. He ponders: "what about something else the same evangelist said of him: He was in the world, and the world was made through him, and the world did not know him? Then he adds, He came into his own." (32) The pre-incarnate presence of the Word in creation is connected to the presence of God (Jer 23:24), God's wisdom (Wis 8:1), and God's Spirit (Ps 139:7-8), from which the Word is never separated. The presence of the Word in the world anticipating the incarnation is a result of his sending forth from the Father, while the incarnation itself occurred at the fitting time. This time was established without time, as Augustine explains:

It is true that in the Word of God[,] which was in the beginning with God and was God, that is to say[,] in the Wisdom of God, there was timelessly contained the time in which that Wisdom was to appear in the flesh. So while without any beginning of time in the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God, without any time there was in the Word the time at which the Word would become flesh and dwell among us. And when this fullness of time came, God sent his Son made of woman, that is made in time, in order that the Word might be shown to men incarnate; and the time at which this should happen was timelessly contained within the Word. The whole series of all times is timelessly contained in God's eternal Wisdom. (33)

The fact that the preincarnate Word was present in creation necessitates an explanation of the change enacted by the human birth of Christ. Augustine makes a separation between the Word being made flesh and the Word being sent in order to be made flesh. While the sending of the Son is to be associated with the incarnation, (34) the fact that the Word is sent in order to be made flesh is a corollary of the Johannine witness that he was already in the world (Jn 1:10). This distinction between the sending of the Son and his preincarnate presence buttresses against claims of subordination and ties the creative work of the Son eternally begotten of the Father to the incarnation in time:

We should understand that it was not just the man who the Word became that was sent, but that the Word was sent to become man. For he was not sent in virtue of some disparity of power or substance or anything in him that was not equal to the Father, but in virtue of the Son being from the Father, not the Father being from the Son. The Son of course is the Father's Word, which is also called his Wisdom. (35)

In his second sermon on John, Augustine expounds on the presence of God, which in its divinity is unseen by the world but in flesh is made manifest, that the world might believe. "He was here by his divinity; he came here by his flesh because when he came here by his divinity, he could not be seen by the stupid and the blind and the unjust." (36) The soteriological function of the incarnation is foremost; the Word was sent according to his divinity and of his own will in order to become flesh and became flesh in his comings The Pater-Filius relation is therefore established in the eternal generation of the Son through which he exists both in and as the beginning. The juxtaposition of the Word is then established: "in the form of God he made man; in the form of a servant he was made man." (38) The Pater--Filius relation continues under this Christology of incarnate servanthood and divine lordship, where the Son is understood as both equal to and less than the Father.


Augustine's double rule of interpreting Scripture passages that concern the Son of God provides a hermeneutic that reveals the christological implications of Johannine trinitarian logic. Augustine argues that "our Lord Jesus Christ is to be understood to be God's Son, both equal to the Father by the form of God in which he is, and less than the Father by the form of a servant which he took." (39) Besides these two interpretations in which the Son is equal to and less than the Father, Augustine explores a third exegetical possibility, in which the Son is simply "from" the Father--a possibility discussed in my previous section on the first movement of the Pater-Filius relationship. (40)

Jaroslav Pelikan is willing to recognize the intimate connection between Augustine's double rule and the Johannine structure of De Trinitate; he rightly points out, however, that Augustine's double rule does not itself originate in the logic of John's Gospel: "Despite the predominance of passages from the Fourth Gospel in the treatise and despite the work he was doing on that Gospel during the same years, he did not ground the fundamental distinction of his canonical rule, 'that the Son of God is both understood to be equal to the Father according to the form of God in which He is, and less than the Father according to the form of a servant which He took,' on the distinction between the first and the last verses of the prologue to the Gospel of John." Pelikan goes on to associate how Augustine stated his rule with source material that was more immediately in line with his purposes, although the material was not Johannine: "Nevertheless, as the use of the terms 'form of God' and 'form of a servant' in the formulation of the canonical rule indicates, the immediate source was the familiar passage from Philippians 2:5-11." (41)

Pelikan notes the "quasi-creedal" nature of the hymn as well as its inclusion of christological glorification as possible reasons for Augustine's use of the passage. Most likely, the soteriologically ordered Christ hymn of Philippians provides a dramatic trajectory that emphasizes the salvific nature of the christological revelation. The resulting dynamic character of the double rule reveals itself to be not simply a binary equal to/less than, but the story of the Son who from equality descends to become a servant for the sake of the salvation of creation. After being situated within this missio dei, the christological dialectic is properly contextualized so that its subsequent Johannine expression avoids a detached and arbitrary Christology.

Without doing much violence to its purposes, we can reduce Augustine's Christology to a basic tension between the declarations of John 10:30 and 14:28, balancing an understanding of the Son as equal to and less than the Father. At one point, Augustine simply lists examples of the double rule, demonstrating the paradigmatic nature of the two christological perspectives:

In the form of God, all things were made by him (Jn 1:3); in the form of a servant, he himself was made of woman, made under the law. In the form of God, he and the Father are one (Jn 10:30); in the form of a servant, he did not come to do his own will, but the will of him who sent him (Jn 6:38). In the form of God, as the Father has life in himself, so he gave the Son also to have life in himself (Jn 5:26); in the form of a servant, his soul is sorrowful to the point of death, and Father, he said, if it can be, let this cup pass by (Mt 26:38). In the form of God, he is true God, and life eternal (1 Jn 5:20); in the form of a servant, he became obedient to the point of death, the death even of the cross (Phil 2:8). In the form of God, everything that the Father has is his (Jn 16:15), and all yours is mine, he says, and mine yours (Jn 17:10); in the form of a servant, his doctrine is not his own, but his who sent him (Jn 7:16). (42)

This straightforward account of the christological forms should not be misunderstood as a proto-Chalcedonian theology of the hypostatic union. Christ is not discussed according to his human and divine natures, (43) but rather according to the "form" of a servant and the "form" of God. This dynamic both sets the Son within a historical context and approaches Christology not so much according to Christ's person as to the vision (or lack of vision) of God in Christ. (44)

The origin of the double rule in the Christ hymn presents the historical context of Christ in the form of both a servant and God in his incarnation, death, ascension, and final glorification. Augustine carefully establishes the situated nature of Christ's servanthood as he discusses the eschatological subjection of all things to the Father. Speaking of the Son's own subjection, immediately concerning John 14:28, Augustine clarifies: "It was not merely before he had ascended into heaven that he said this, but even before he had suffered and risen from the dead." (45) Augustine's identification of this context for the Son's subjection is meant to emphasize the fact that in his glorification Christ is equal to the Father, and no longer found to be a servant, which was an office of his earthly ministry. Christ's work as a servant, set against his eventual glorification and revelation as equal to the Father, complements his initial glory in eternity. This glory is "emptied" at the fitting time in order for the Son to be incarnated in the form of a servant. In the Son of Man, "he was offering the flesh which the Word had been made in the fullness of time as the object to receive our faith; but ... the Word itself, through whom all things had been made, was being kept for the contemplation in eternity of minds now purified through faith." (46)

In De Trinitate, Augustine twice discusses the encounter in John 14:7-10 between Philip and Christ, both times regarding Christ's ministry as it relates to the double rule by which he is proclaimed in the Scriptures. In the first instance, Augustine emphasizes the Son's equality with the Father, despite Philip's failure to realize the form of God in Christ. "Philip understood [the human vision of the Father] well enough to say, Lord, show us the Father and it suffices us. But he did not yet understand that he could just as well have said the same thing like this: 'Lord, show us yourself and it suffices US." (47) Augustine later pushes the interpretation of the episode further to show that Christ's leaving to be with the Father is for the sake of the world's vision of the Father, because in the form of a servant his equality with God is actually hidden, (48)

This event of "sight" is central to the logic of Augustine's Trinity because the vision of the Father provided through the Son delimits the scope of Christ's incarnate mission. While the first movement of the Pater--Filius relationship involves the eternal generation of the Son, the second is revealed in the divine economy of salvation where Christ is both equal to and less than the Father. The (in)ability of humanity to obtain true "sight" of God will lead us to Augustine's Pneumatology, which may be seen as the trinitarian corollary to Barnes' work on the relationship of Matthew 5:8 with the "invisible Trinity" of the "visible Christ." (49)

The Son's office as earthly servant thus does not cancel his equality with the Father--it does not abolish the Son's eternal form of God for the sake of the servant form he assumed during his earthly ministry, although what was in eternity is affirmed to be in some way "emptied." Rather, what was in eternity presented in glory is simply hidden from the eyes of the flesh. For this reason Philip is goaded by Christ, not because the equality of the Word was not displayed in Christ's person, but precisely because it was, and Philip did not have the eyes of faith to see it. The double rule of Christ's forms concerns humanity's vision of God in Christ and perhaps the status of Christ, though not his identity per se. In his discussion of the final judgment and Christ's enigmatic words concerning it in John 5:18-30, Augustine emphasizes the distinction between Christ's identity and the human identification of God in Christ. The Son's authority in judgment is derivative and yet possessed according to his eternal generation as Word of the Father. In the judgment, however, only the faithful see the Son in his fullness. Christ commands his disciples not to be surprised (Jn 5:28), because only those who are unfaithful will marvel at his works (Jn 5:20).(50)

For Augustine, the designation "Son of Man" appears to be connected to Christ's form of a servant, which is seen by unbelieving eyes. He relates "Son of Man" to the vision of the Jews and all who have pierced Christ by their sins: "Both good and bad, of course, are going to look upon the judge of the living and the dead, but the bad, we may be sure, will only be able to see him in the form by which he is the Son of man." (51) Seeing Christ merely by the eyes of the flesh is then a rejection of God--just as the Jews unknowingly rejected God in Christ. In his sermon on the same Johannine passage, Augustine emphasizes what unbelievers do not see: "For they saw his most like Son, but they needed to be advised that the Father, whom they did not yet see, was also such as is the Son, whom they saw." (52) At the same time the Father and the Son are distinct: to affirm that the Father is seen in the Son is not to affirm that they are indistinct. Augustine is careful to note that John 10:30 declares of the Father and the Son that "we" are one, so that there are still two who are one--in opposition to the Sabellians, for whom the Father and the Son are the same. (53)

It is the vision of the Father in the Son that completes the trinitarian work of salvation. The Pater--Filius relationship is one of equality in eternity where the Son is fully given glory and life in himself according to the form of God. In his incarnation Christ takes on the form of a servant (54) in whom the form of God is hidden so that only those enlightened by faith can gaze upon Christ in his eternal glory, see the Father, and in this vision attain to the salvation for which Christ came. Augustine does not articulate the Pater-Filius relationship in sterile metaphysical terms, but rather along this soteriological line. In his sermons on the Gospel of John, he defines how Christ is both the path to salvation and salvation itself:

This is where you are going; this same is the way by which you are going. You do not go through one thing to something else; you do not come through something else to Christ. You come through Christ to Christ. How through Christ to Christ? Through Christ the man to Christ the God, through the Word made flesh to the Word which in the beginning was God with God. (55)

The believer comes to Christ by Christ through the eternal contemplation of the Father in the Son. For Augustine this vision entails the eschatological completion of the enlightenment prepared by and revealed through the incarnate Word: "this contemplation is promised us as the end of all activities and the eternal perfection of all joys," and "our enlightenment is to participate in the Word, that is, in that life which is the light of men."(56) But the Pater-Filius relationship that is the structure of christological vision remains unattainable so long as the work of Christ is not seen in its fullness, and this fullness is a possibility withheld from eyes of flesh.

Augustine carries the Pater-Filius relation to an astonishing length in his exposition of the soteriological structure of vision entailed by the Son's generation and incarnation. Although Augustine's Pneumatology is not diminished by this robust Christocentrism, such a strong focus on the Son is often seen as imbalanced. (57) At the point of vision itself, however, we have come to an end of humanity's ability to see God, and Christology is unable to resolve the issue. In De Trinitate 4.4 Augustine continues from the passage just quoted to outline Christ's work of atonement as a cleansing act that prepares the heart to see the Father, but even here Christ is unknown insofar as those who see do so according to the eyes of flesh. To find resolution we must turn to Pneumatology--Augustine's theology of the Spirit as the fulfillment of the Pater-Filius relationship and the pinnacle of soteriological development that completes Augustine's Trinity as inherently Johannine.


In his recent encyclical Deus caritas est, Pope Benedict XVI opens part 2 by quoting from De Trinitate: "'If you see charity, you see the Trinity,' wrote Saint Augustine." (58) The context of this quotation is a discussion of neighborly love that finds its source in and directs the lover to the Holy Trinity. (59) The scriptural text cited by Augustine is the same text Benedict cites in the encyclical's introduction: "God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him" (1 Jn 4:16). Although this text mentions the entire Godhead rather than the Spirit alone, the vision of God enabled by love is a fully trinitarian realization of the believer; it defines Augustine's Pneumatology. This Pneumatology follows the two movements of the Pater-Filius relationship in terms of their Johannine logic and is the soteriological end of the contemplative fulfillment envisioned and prepared by the Father's sending of the Son.

Although Augustine's Pneumatology is logically subsequent to the Pater--Filius relationship, the Spirit is essential for establishing the fullness of his trinitarian doctrine. Augustine writes: "For this is the fullness of our joy, than which there is nothing greater: to enjoy God the Trinity in whose image we have been made. On this account the Holy Spirit is sometimes spoken of in such a way as if He Himself alone were sufficient for our blessedness, and He alone does suffice for this reason, because He cannot be separated from the Father and the Son." (60) Such a one-sided emphasis on the Holy Spirit is unfounded for the same reason that Augustine's Christology cannot be overemphasized--because of his initial assertion of the Pater-Filius relationship that Christ is from the Father. In its dependence on both Father and Son, Augustine's Pneumatology operates analogously to his antecedent Christology. Although Augustine does not mention spiration, the Spirit's inseparability is a result of his own procession ex patre filioque.

Augustine identifies the Holy Spirit with love itself. From this fundamental Pneumatology he draws an understanding of wisdom and light, building on what he already introduces in his Christology. To sketch Augustine's Pneumatology according to its Johannine aspects, I will first discuss wisdom as a christological theme that gradually opens into Pneumatology in De Trinitate 7.4-6. This situating of wisdom will provide the groundwork for the understanding of Augustine's Pneumatology as enlightening love, which both completes the soteriological trajectory begun by the two movements of the Pater--Filius relationship and is inseparable from them.

In book 7 the entire Trinity is spoken of as one wisdom and Christ most prominently as the Wisdom begotten of God, but Wisdom is also said to be created in humanity "when [people] turn to the wisdom which is not created or made but begotten, and are enlightened." This wisdom is distinct from Christ, although Christ also shares in this enlightenment through the incarnation.(61) The Holy Spirit is not mentioned at all throughout this discourse until the end of the next section (7.5) and not extensively until 7.6; such an absence begs the question of whether Augustine means to associate created wisdom with the Spirit at all. The pneumatological development that does eventually present itself, however, clarifies the extent to which the creation of wisdom in humanity is the ministry of the Holy Spirit that draws vision to Christ. In De Trinitate 7.6 the Spirit is identified with "love" and "wisdom/light" as a matter of divine simplicity. Within the unity entailed by this simplicity of being,(62) the Spirit is "conjoining Father and Son to each other" (a matter of Christ's "wisdoms," both begotten and made) and "subjoining us to them" (a matter of the "wisdom" that is created in humanity, that is, the enlightenment that accompanies humanity's turning to Christ the uncreated "Wisdom"). (63) Having established the uniting role of Wisdom Pneumatology both within the Godhead and between humanity and God, I am now able to draw my discussion into pneumatological "light" and "love."

"Light," as noted earlier, is also a christological name: "Our enlightenment is to participate in the Word, that is, in that life which is the light of men." (64) Enlightenment as the task of wisdom is tied to the true light ofhrist as a soteriological hermeneutic akin to Augustine's assertion in his sermon on John's Gospel, "You come through Christ to Christ." (65) Also in De Trinitate Augustine affirms the close tie between Christ and wisdom: "It is written that God is light not such as these eyes see, but such as the mind sees when it hears 'He is truth."' (66) So Augustine insists on drawing Christology into Pneumatology, as it is the Spirit who leads the believer to Christ and sustains the union of soteriological contemplation. Christ as the light is not comprehended by the darkness, and we reach the same impasse as at the end of my previous section where Christology is unable to resolve the issue of humanity's inability to see God; it is the mission of the Spirit to enlighten the heart of humanity toward the vision of the Son, in whom the Father is realized. And this enlightenment is ultimately a matter of love: "Is it surprising then that a man who is not in light should not see light, that is[,] not see God, because he is in darkness? Now he sees his brother with ordinary human vision which God cannot be seen by. But if he were to love with spiritual charity the one he sees with human vision, he would see God who is charity with the inner vision which he can be seen by." (67) The "spiritual charity" is the Holy Spirit and is created in humanity by the Holy Spirit; God is then seen by enlightened sight as love.

Ultimately, the entire Godhead is properly love, although the Spirit as the substantive unity of love is so as a matter of primacy. (68) Augustine cites John 4:10 to demonstrate that the Spirit is the reason for the action of the Pater-Filius relationship toward creation in the Word made flesh. Likewise, 1 John 4:19 turns the love of God in Christ on itself, in that God's love for humanity is the same substantive Spirit who directs humanity toward God. "So it is God the Holy Spirit proceeding from God who fires man to the love of God and neighbor when he has been given to him, and he himself is love." (69)

The two great commandments (to love God and to love neighbor) are actually two facets of a single pneumatological event. Thus Augustine dwells on 1 John 4:7-8, 20 as an extension of his observation that to see love is to see the Trinity. (70) If love is truly the Trinity, then one cannot love another without approaching love itself. Likewise the love of God is not seen apart from the act of love: the Spirit reconciles humanity to God through the very act in which humanity is reconciled to itself. Because love is substantive for Augustine (see Trin. 8.12), Pneumatology is established according to the missiological purpose of the Pater-Filius relationship and the edification of the human spirit toward God. The two great commandments parallel this trinitarian action of pneumatological extension and reception: "When therefore we love our brother out of love, we love our brother out of God; and it is impossible that we should not love especially the love that we love our brother with. Thus we infer that those two commandments cannot exist without each other." (71)

The logic of the Pater--Filius relationship is devoid of any coherence without consideration of the Spirit as the bond of its unity; likewise the projection of this relationship is neither inaugurated in the sending of the Son, nor completed in the ascent of both the risen Christ and the sons of glory by faith without the power of the Holy Spirit. Augustine does not always speak of the Spirit explicitly, but the extent to which love is substantively connected to Pneumatology ensures its dignity in trinitarian discourse. Yves Congar helpfully describes the person of the Spirit in Augustine along these lines, as "the end and the seal of intra-divine fertility, who communicates that fertility to us and is also the principle of our return to the Father through the Son." (72) The logic of the Spirit follows 1 John, though it builds on the wider Johannine scheme of the Son's reconciling work, which brings humanity to the vision of the Father. Augustine unfolds his work according to this trinitarian vision of John and follows the drama of redemption as presented throughout the canon. The missio dei established in the Gospel's Prologue is completed for the sake of the world in the exhortation to love.


Augustine's Trinity has recently assumed a central position in dogmatic theology, requiring a reevaluation of past assumptions concerning its structure and import for current trinitarian discourse. In a conscious recognition of recent Augustine scholarship and with intentions drawn primarily from the insights of Barnes, Ayres, and others, I have attempted to contribute an account of Augustine's trinitarian logic according to Johannine influence. Such a sketch, both exegetical and dogmatic, is valuable primarily in its tracking of Augustine's Trinity along a soteriological trajectory rather than merely structurally, although for Augustine trinitarian structure is soteriological and actively so. It also provides a textual demonstration; Augustine's theological synthesis of the canonical narrative reveals the Johannine logic of the Pater--Filius relationship and its pneumatological fulfillment. I do not intend my study to exhaust Augustine's trinitarian theology any more than some other logical structure might claim to do. However, the Johannine logic I adduced from Augustine's De Trinitate is indispensable to fully articulating his theology of the Trinity and should be seen as the basic source and norm of the scriptural witness for his work. (73)

(1) Michel Rene Barnes most successfully argues for a rereading of Augustine's Trinity as a matter of historical theology and patristic scholarship. See his "Augustine in Contemporary Trinitarian Theology," Theological Studies 56 (1995) 237-50, and "Rereading Augustine's Theology of the Trinity," in The Trinity, ed. Stephen T. Davis, Daniel Kendall, and Gerald O'Collins (New York: Oxford University, 1999) 145-76. Other articles by Barnes on more specific topics are mentioned below.

(2) For a recent example with immediate ecumenical implications, see Alexei Fokin, "St. Augustine's Doctrine of the Trinity in Light of Orthodox Triadology of the Fourth Century," in The Trinity: East/West Dialogue, ed. Melville Stewart (Boston: Kluwer Academic, 2003) 131-52. It is unfortunate that the Society of Christian Philosophers made up the Western entourage at the colloquium, while the Eastern group was ecclesiastical and theological. A Western group representing similar backgrounds as the Eastern Orthodox may have more helpfully presented the Augustinian approach. For a dated, though helpful, overview of the sentiment of Augustine's detractors, see Jurgen Moltmann's "The Unity of the Triune God: Comprehensibility of the Trinity and Its Foundation in the History of Salvation" and the three subsequent responses in St. Vladimir's Theological Quarterly 28 (1984) 157-88.

(3) The pertinence of Augustine to postmodernity may largely be tied to his (and its) connection to modernity. For two perspectives on the Augustinian-Cartesian connection, see Michael Hanby, Augustine and Modernity (New York: Routledge, 2003) and Zbigniew Janowski, Augustinian-Cartesian Index (South Bend, Ind.: St. Augustine's, 2004). Hanby reflects the Augustinian character of Radical Orthodoxy, much different from the Derridean tenor of John Caputo and Michael Scanlon's Augustine and Postmodernism: Confession and Circumfession (Indianapolis: Indiana University, 2005), though Hanby's view is equally important to current theological discussion. Janowski establishes a continuity perspective that will tie Augustine to later Cartesian developments; this genealogy remains a pervasive stance in the academy, in both theological and philosophical discussions. As will become clear, my article stands in the stream of Hanby and Ayres by identifying a more robustly trinitarian Augustine who does not so easily fit the description of certain current criticism.

(4) Karl Rahner, The Trinity, trans. Joseph Donceel (New York: Herder & Herder, 1970) 18. Dreyton Benner's recent article, "Augustine and Karl Rahner on the Relationship between the Immanent and the Economic Trinity," International Journal of Systematic Theology 9 (2007) 24-38, provides a cogent analysis of Rahner's critique as well as a defense of Augustine's trinitarian doctrine. While Benner's interaction with the secondary literature is more helpful than his presentation of De Trinitate itself, the article is commendable as an introduction to significant points of dispute.

(5) Describing this process, Rahner writes, "It postulates from the doctrine of the Trinity a model of human knowledge and love, which either remains questionable, or about which it is not clear that it can be more than a model of human knowledge precisely as finite. And this model it applies again to God" (Trinity 117-18). Contrary to Rahner, the process described appears to be exactly what Augustine warns against in his second "class" of errors (Trin. 1.1 [65]). Such an anthropomorphism is arguably more present in recent social trinitarianism than in Augustine, and appeals to a corrective turn in the social model from intra- to intersubjectivity should not obscure this fact.

Unless otherwise noted, the English translation used throughout this article is The Trinity, The Works of Saint Augustine I/5, intro., trans., and notes Edmund P. Hill, ed. John E. Rotelle (Brooklyn: New City, 1991). Italics in the quotations are the translator's. I give references to De Trinitate without Hill's chapter divisions, followed by Hill's page number in brackets. I chose this translation because of its prominence in the literature, but in many cases I prefer Stephen McKenna's translation: The Trinity, Fathers of the Church 45 (Washington: Catholic University of America, 1963).

(6) Gunton criticizes Augustinian Pneumatology, primarily focusing on the conception of the Spirit as gift and love. He also castigates the psychological model as a Platonic connection "of the immanent Trinity by analogy with the threefold structure of the human mind" ("God the Holy Spirit: Augustine and his Successors," in Theology through the Theologians [Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark, 1996] 10528, at 109, 110). For a sustained critique of Gunton, see Neil Ormerod, "Augustine and the Trinity: Whose Crisis?" Pacifica 16 (2003) 17-32.

(7) Moltmann, "Unity of the Triune God." In The Trinity and the Kingdom (San Francisco, Harper & Row, 1981), Moltmann's criticisms of Augustine center generally around his conception of the inner and outer life of the Trinity as it affects the opus Trinitatis. The move from ontological unity to personal triunity is also mentioned (16) as is Augustine's "love" Pneumatology, which reduces the Godhead to a duality (143). Also worth noting is Moltmann's strong genealogical tendency (present in Gunton as well) discernible in the frequency with which he uses the phrase, "ever since Augustine." This focus is integral to the wider critique of the Western tradition offered by both theologians.

(8) Lewis Ayres, Nicaea and Its Legacy: An Approach to Fourth-Century Trinitarian Theology (New York: Oxford University, 2004) 365.

(9) See Chad C. Pecknold, "How Augustine Used the Trinity: Functionalism and the Development of Doctrine," Anglican Theological Review 85 (2003) 127-41; Neil Ormerod, "Augustine's De Trinitate and Lonergan's Realms of Meaning," Theological Studies 64 (2003) 773-94; and Neil Ormerod, "Augustine and the Trinity."

(10) Ayres, Nicaea and Its Legacy 364.

(11) Letter 11, responding to an inquiry from Nebridius, is Augustine's first significant interaction with trinitarian doctrine. Concerning the principle of "inseparable operations," Ayres (ibid. 369) helpfully quotes material from Ambrose and Hilary from whom Augustine likely drew. A fuller appreciation of the epistle's impact and Augustine's soteriological focus, though, may be obtained by recognizing its situation within the question of the Son's incarnation, which Ayres does not emphasize. "We had first, therefore, to be shown a certain norm and rule of discipline. This was done through that divine dispensation of the assumed man, which is properly to be ascribed to the Son, so that there follows through the Son both a knowledge of the Father, that is, of the one principle from whom all things come, and a certain interior and ineffable tenderness and sweetness of remaining in this knowledge and of scorning all mortal things, which gift and function is properly attributed to the Holy Spirit. Though all these actions, then, are done with the highest unity and inseparability, they still had to be shown to us distinctly on our account, for we have fallen from that unity to multiplicity" (Letter 11.4, in Letters 1-99, The Works of St. Augustine II/1, trans. Roland Teske [Hyde Park, N.Y.: New City, 2001] 37). This final point does not seem to support an immanent "unity" contrasted with economic "variety," but rather simply emphasizes that the "inseparable" is nonetheless veritably "distinguished," in some sense presenting a trinitarian logic that anticipates the Chalcedonian-christological logic of "without confusion ... without separation," though such a direct development need not be read into the text.

(12) What I attempt to articulate here is something like Ellen Charry's "The Soteriological Importance of the Divine Perfections," in God the Holy Trinity, ed. Timothy George (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Baker Academic, 2006); or Hanby's "The Aesthetics of Salvation," in Augustine and Modernity 27-46. Not only is soteriology important, but the very structure of Augustine's trinitarian theology is soteriologically cast.

(13) Trin. 1.7 [69], 1.18 [77-78], 3.27 [145], 4.29 [174], 5.15 [199]. Augustine emphasizes the identification of the Spirit with both the Father and the Son. In 4.29 [174], this identification is tied to the filioque, with justification from John 20:22: "Nor, by the way, can we say that the Holy Spirit does not proceed from the Son as well; it is not without point that the same Spirit is called the Spirit of the Father and of the Son. And I cannot see what else he intended to signify when he breathed and said Receive the Holy Spirit."

(14) Augustine cites John 5:19, 26 (Trin. 2.3 [98-99]). The intention is to account for scriptural witness outside of the double rule of the Son's equality (according to the form of God) and subordination (according to the form of a servant). There must also be an assertion that the Son is simply "from" the Father. This relation is, in fact, foundational in that it posits the initial "Deum de Deo." It is significant that for Augustine this matter is one of exegetical principle and not simply a metaphysical construction. It is also a biblical statement about trinitarian immanence based upon the trinitarian economy, a point not very different from Rahner's.

(15) Trin. 2.2 [98].

(16) Trin. 2.5 [100].

(17) Trin. 6.3 [207].

(18) Trin. 4.29 [174]. Augustine goes on to assert procession of the Spirit from the Son, again tying it to the word of the Son, which cannot be separated from its generation as "from" the Father. This time, John 20:22 is referenced rather than John 16:14-15.

(19) Trin. 15.47 [432].

(20) Trin. 4.28 [173].

(21) This "sending" of the Son is different from the Johannine understanding of the Word being made flesh, but it supports the same structure of the filial mission in distinction from the eternal generation from the Father: "He is sent in the fact that he is perceived in time by someone's mind, as it says, Send her to be with me and labor with me (Wis. 9:10). That he is born means that he is from eternity to eternity ... that he is sent means that he is known by somebody in time." This is the spiritual complement to the physical truth of the Word being made flesh, and it is reenacted in the believer: "the spirits of just men, even while still living in the flesh, are not in this world insofar as they have a sense of divine things" (ibid.).

(22) Trin. 1.26 [85].

(23) Jn 5:26. The same passage appears in Trin. 15.47, where the Spirit has already been affirmed as proceeding from the Father in a sense analogous to the Son's generation.

(24) Trin. 15.47 [432].

(25) This verse presents interpretation difficulties even in the Greek text. Bruce Metzger (A Textual Commentary on the Greek New Testament, 2nd ed. [Stuttgart: German Bible Society, 1994] 191) notes: "Several Latin witnesses (and the Gothic), misunderstanding the Greek, translate Principium, quiet loquor vobis ('[I am] the Beginning, even I who speak to you')."

(26) Trin. 5.14 [198]. McKenna, Trinity 191, translates this as: "The beginning who also speaks to you." The verse is mentioned in one other place, 1.24 [83], "In the form of God, he is the beginning which also speaks to us." I use "beginning" and "origin" interchangeably when speaking of Christ as principium.

(27) In her article on the divine relations, Sarah Lancaster cites Michel Barnes and William A. Sumruld on two opposing views of the identity of the Arians responded to in books 5-7. Her own analysis focuses on "the problem that lies behind all their errors, namely, their unfitness to grasp full knowledge of God" (Sarah Lancaster, "Divine Relations in the Trinity: Augustine's Answer to Arianism," Calvin Theological Journal 34 (1999) 327-46, at 328). For the purposes of defining Augustine's Pater--Filius relationship and because he himself lists such a wide array of heretical doctrines in Trin. 1.9, the question of exactly which Arianism is being refuted is not entirely important, though specificity should not be regarded as likewise unimportant for studies more concerned with the historical aspects of Augustine's polemic. I, with Lancaster, claim a focus more dogmatic than historical and defer on this particular question.

(28) Trin. 1.9 [71].

(29) Trin. 5.14 [198].

(30) Trin. 7.4 [222] ; Jn 1:9.

(31) Trin. 7.4 [223].

(32) Trin. 2.7 [101]. The verse is also cited in 3.3 [128], which will be examined, and in 7.5 [223].

(33) Trin. 2.9 [103].

(34) Trin. 2.7 [101], Jn 1:10-11, 16:28. "So that is what being sent is, going forth from the Father and coming into this world.... Where he came to, of course, is where he was sent. But if he was sent into this world because he went forth from the Father and came into this world, and if he was already in this world, then where he was sent to is where he already was."

(35) Trin. 4.27 [172].

(36) Io. eu. tr. 2.8; Tractates on the Gospel of John 1-10, The Fathers of the Church 78, trans. John W. Rettig (Washington: Catholic University of America, 1988).

(37) See Michel Rene Barnes, "Exegesis and Polemic in Augustine's De Trinitate I," Augustinian Studies 30:1 (1999) 43-59. Barnes discusses the polemical character of Trin. 1 and draws out 1 Jn 5:20, Jn 14:28, and the Philippians Christ hymn in particular. His Augustinian account of the sending of the Son (56-59) is especially applicable to our discussion. In the current section and elsewhere (see nn. 49-50 below) I am indebted to Barnes's historical and exegetical readings, especially as they examine the polemical nature of Augustine's christological concerns. I intend my study to be a nonpolemical dogmatic sketch of De Trinitate's (rightly noted by Barnes) polemic. I focus, more particularly, on the Johannine aspects of Augustine's dogmatic structure. The sending of the Son thus becomes, without losing its christological and soteriological significance, part of the first movement of the Pater-Filius relationship foundational to Augustine's Trinity. (38) Trin. 1.14 [74].

(39) Trin. 2.2 [98].

(40) Trin. 2.3 [98]. "Lastly there are others which mark him neither as less nor as equal, but only intimate [intimetur] that he is from the Father." This construct reveals why Augustine speaks of the double rule that is threefold. Generation from the Father is included in the rule concerning the Son's equality (as opposed to his subordination), though the Son's generation is a distinct point that is often independent of any affirmation of equality (and so confused as a statement of subordination).

(41) Jaroslav Pelikan, "Canonica Regula: The Trinitarian Hermeneutics of Augustine," in Collectanea Augustiniana, ed. Joseph C. Schnaubelt and Frederick Van Fleteren (New York: Peter Lang, 1990) 329-43, at 335.

(42) Trin. 1.22-23 [82].

(43) An exception may be Trin. 13.24 [363], in Augustine's discussion of wisdom and knowledge: 'in the Word I understand the true Son of God and in the flesh I acknowledge the true Son of man, and each joined together into one person of God and man by an inexpressible abundance of grace."

(44) See Michel Rene Barnes, "The Visible Christ and the Invisible Trinity: Mt. 5:8 in Augustine's Trinitarian Theology of 400," Modern Theology 19:3 (2003) 329-55.

(45) Trin. 1.15 [75].

(46)Trin. 4.26 [172].

(47) Trin. 1.17 [77].

(48) Trin. 1.18 [78-79]. An indispensable article is Barnes, "Visible Christ and the Invisible Trinity," which examines Augustine's response to the Homoians concern ing the visibility of Christ and its implications for his divinity. Because Christ's divinity is not seen, it is not compromised; the christological event must then be articulated in light of the reality that "the most important fact about the identity of Jesus of Nazareth cannot be known, for it is not available to any kind of sight, material or noetic" (343). The pure in heart will see God (Mt 5:8), but this must not be confused with present faith; sight occurs "only at the resolution of history--the end-time" (347). Barnes is concerned primarily with the exegetical basis of this Augustinian argument, specifically, "that the use of 1 Cor. 15:24-28 in constellation with Mt. 5:8 and Phil. 2:5-7 to ground a doctrine of the eschatological vision and its Christological locus is a feature exclusive to de Trinitate, Book one" (336).

(49) Barnes examines how Christ's visibility (as well as the Old Testament theophanies) presents a potential problem for pro-Nicene Latin theologians, a problem Augustine addresses by clarifying the eschatological nature of the vision of God and Christ's mediatory role, where "the Son is visible only as an object of faith in the Incarnation." Concerning this faith, "the meaning of purity of heart lies in the possession of faith, and faith 'proves' the reality of that final vision through the reality of what is gained now through faith" (347). This gain does not move us forward to Pneumatology, but the stage is set. What "gains" faith/purity of heart for the believer, so that "what is now gained" may present itself? Augustine provides an answer in his Pneumatology, which I will discuss under the subtitle "enlightening love." Here my reading differs slightly from Barnes's, which does not seem to take the instigation of faith in a pneumatological direction. For Barnes, "creeds are the matter which works the discipline of faith upon us, enlightening our understanding" (348 n. 4). Unfortunately, he does not provide evidence from De Trinitate either for

(50) See Trin. 1.30 [88]: "Do not be surprised at this, he says--but what is to stop us being surprised except precisely the point that surprises anyone who fails to understand namely his saying that it is because he is the Son of man that the Father has given him authority to judge, whereas one would rather expect him to say it is because he is the Son of God?"

(51) Trin. 1.28 [86-87].

(52) Io. eu. tr. 70.2; Tractates on the Gospel of John 55-111, The Fathers of the Church 90, trans. John W. Rettig (Washington: Catholic University of America, 1994).

(53) See Trin. 7.12 [231]. Pelikan also notes this in his discussion of the double rule ("Canonica Regula" 335).

(54) Though in taking on the form of a servant Christ does not abandon what was his previously. "He emptied himself, not by changing his own divinity but by taking on our changeability, and taking the form of a servant" (Trin. 7.5 [223]). Williams clarifies concerning this: "The biblical language about the 'mission' of the Son is further discussed here to make it clear that no ontological inferiority is implied. There is an irreversible relation between Father and Son; the Son is 'from' the Father, not vice versa. And to speak of the Son's or the Spirit's 'mission' is simply to designate the process whereby we come to recognize that Son and S the Father" (Rowan Williams, "De Trinitate," in Augustine through th encyclopedia, ed. Allan Fitzgerald [Grand Rapids, Mich.: Eerdmans, 1 at 847).

(55) Io. eu. tr. 13.4; Tractates on the Gospel of John 11-27, The Father of the Church 79, trans. John W. Rettig (Washington: Catholic University of 1988).

(56) Trin. 1.17 [76]; 4.4 [154-55].

(57) Positive appraisals of Augustine, and especially of epistemolog A his theology, focus much more on his Christology than on his Pneumatatology. A recent example of this is Khaled Anatolios's article, "Oppositional Pairs and Christological Synthesis: Rereading Augustine's De Trinitate," Theological Studies 68 (2007) 231-53. My next section in large part attempts to sketch a way to consider the pneumatological aspects of Augustine's epistemological concerns.

(58) Deus caritas est no.19, documents/hf_ben-xvi_enc_20051225_deus-caritas-est_en.html (accessed March 26, 2007).

(59) Trin. 8.12 [253-54].

(60) Trin. 1.18 (McKenna 26). The reference is to John 14:17. The fact that the Spirit is the Spirit of truth available only to believers seems to be what Augustine is highlighting. He does not specify whether the Scriptures or his theological predecessors are the ones who suggest that the Spirit alone suffices for blessedness. Augustine's reference to John 14:15-17 immediately before and after the passage cited may suggest that he means the scriptural witness, but it is perhaps just as likely that he is referring to his theological predecessors.

(61) Trin. 7.4 [222]: "in this sense Christ is made wisdom, because he was made man."

(62) Trin. 7.6 [224]: "together they are not three wisdoms but one wisdom; and because in their case to be is the same as to be wise, Father and Son and Holy Spirit are one being. Nor with them is to be anything else than to be God. So Father and Son and Holy Spirit are one God."

(63) Precisely this point is made in letter 11.4: "there follows through the Son both a knowledge of the Father, that is, of the one principle from whom all things come, and a certain interior and ineffable tenderness and sweetness of remaining in this knowledge and of scorning all mortal things, which gift and function is properly attributed to the Holy Spirit."

(64) Trin. 4.4 [154-55], Jn 1:4.

(65) Io, eu, tr. 13.4.

(66) Trin. 8.3 [243], 1 Jn 1:5.

(67) Trill. 8.12 [254], 1 Jn 1:5.

(68) Augustine argues: "This distinction then within the inseparable trinity must be diligently looked into and not casually taken for granted. It is this that allows the Word of God also to be called distinctively the wisdom of God, even though both Father and Holy Spirit are also wisdom. If therefore any of these three can be distinctively named charity, which could it more suitably be than the Holy Spirit? What is meant is that while in that supremely simple nature substance is not one thing and charity another, but substance is charity and charity is substance, whether in the Father or in the Son or in the Holy Spirit, yet all the same the Holy Spirit is distinctively named charity" (Trin. 15.29 [419]).

(69) Trin. 15.31 [421].

(70) Deus caritas est follows the same direction when it cites Book 8, and remains in keeping with Augustine's intentions for identifying God with love.

(71) Trin. 8.12 [253-54].

(72) Yves Congar, I Believe in the Holy Spirit, 3 vols., trans. David Smith (New York: Herder & Herder, 2004) 1:81.

(73) This essay was written under the direction of Dr. Timothy Larsen, McManis Professor of Theology at Wheaton College, Illinois.

EVAN F. KUEHN earned his M.A. degree in historical and systematic theology from Wheaton College, Illinois, where he is currently employed as a cataloging associate in the Buswell Memorial Library. The present article is his first publication. He is working on essays on Anglican canon law and on pneumatological aspects of communion eeclesiology.
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