Augustine, Love, and the Trinity Early Christian Doctrines

I'm blogging highlights from J.N.D. Kelly's book Early Christian Doctrines, see previous entries. Here is an excerpt on Augustine's wrassle with it.
It has often been assumed that Augustine's principal Trinitarian analogy in the De trinitae is that disclosed by his analysis of the idea of love (his starting-point is the Johannine dictum that god is love) into the lover, the object loved, and the love which unites, or strives to unite, them. Yet, while expounding this analogy, he himself reckons that it affords only an initial step towards our understanding of the Trinity, at beast a momentary glimpse of It. His discussion of it is quite brief, and forms no more than a transition to what he considers his all-important analogy, based on the inner man, viz. the mind's activity as directed upon itself or, better still, upon God. This analogy fascinated him all his life, so that in such an early work as the Confessions (397-8) we find him pondering the triad of being, knowing and willing. In the De trinitae he elaborates it at length in three successive stages, the resulting trinities being (a) the mind, its knowledge of itself, and its love of itself; (b) memory or, more properly, the mind's latent knowledge of itself, understanding' i.e. its apprehension of itself in the light of the eternal reasons, and the will, or love of itself, by which this process of self-knowledge is set in motion; and (c) the mind as remembering, knowing and loving God Himself. Each of these, in different degrees, reveals three real elements which, according to Augustine's metaphysic of personality, are coordinate and therefore equal, and at the same time essentially one; each of them throws light on the mutual relations of the divine Persons. It is the last of the three analogies, however, which Augustine deems most satisfactory. The three factors disclosed in the second 'are not lives but one life, not three minds but one mind, and consequently are not three substances but one substance'; but he reasons this it is only when the mind has focussed itself with all its powers of remembering, understanding and loving on its Creator, that the image it beasrs of Him, corrupted as it is by sin, can be fully restored. (277-8)
Now you need to re-read it a few times. I "love" the love analogy. The Lover (Father), the Loved (the Son) and the Love (the Spirit).

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