The Trinity: An Introduction to Catholic Doctrine on the Triune God by Gilles Emery
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Emery’s induction to The Trinity is an attempt to explain the Doctrine of The Trinity and examine the origins and development of the Trinitarian Christian confessions that advance this concept. The basic idea of the Trinity is that there are three distinct “persons,” known as the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, within one unified nature or essence we call God. Almost immediately we encounter a problem with the limitations of human language used to describe this apparent contradiction in logic: Unfortunately, Emery only dances around the edges of this without giving any truly concrete definition from which to structure his discussion, making this book a bit of a struggle to fully comprehend.
Here is the root of the problem: In the rational mind, which apportions time and space within our physical world, if the three (3) persons of the Trinity are all God and they are also all distinct persons or individuals, then we have three distinct or individual Gods (which would result in a polytheistic heresy obviously rejected by all monotheist confessions, including the Catholic Church). If we accept that there is but one God, how then are the three (3) persons held to also be God as well? Attempts to reconcile this puzzle have fostered an even greater raft of heresies that either deny the distinct “personhood” of each member of the Trinity, or deny the shared “Godhood” or divinity of one or more members of the Trinity.
Emery briefly covers some of the heresies that prompted the Church to better define the dogma of the Trinity, but he doesn’t always do a good job of highlighting and/or explaining the orthodox response. This may be an artifact of translation or possibly even evolving modes of speech; however, it does become more clear on re-reading significant parts of the book while referencing the glossary in the back of the book.
Emery’s final chapter (6), Returning to the Creative and Saving Action of the Trinity, brings us back to why all of this is important. For the most part, this describes the Trinitarian economy and how it works to communicate to man a share of the divine life of God as revealed by God in the Incarnation of His Son through the Holy Spirit. It is basically a recap of the previous five (5) chapters organized in a clear and concise many that was much easier to understand and quite frankly could stand on its own with the glossary of terms.
View all my reviews
My Ratings Explained ...
- [ ***** ] Amazing Read - Perfect story, exciting, engrossing, well developed complex characters, solid plot with few to no holes, descriptive environments and place settings, great mystery elements, realistic dialogue, believable reactions and behaviors; a favorite that I can re-read many times.
- [ **** ] Great Read - Highly entertaining and enjoyable, exciting storyline, well developed characters and settings, a few discrepancies but nothing that can’t be overlooked. Some aspect of the story was new/refreshing to me and/or intriguing. Recommended for everyone.
- [ *** ] Good Read - Solid story with a 'good' ending, or has some other redeeming feature. Limited character development and/or over reliance on tropes. Noticeable discrepancies in world building and/or dialog/behavior that were distracting. I connected enough with the characters/world to read the entire series. Most of the books I read for fun are here. Recommended for fans of the genre.
- [ ** ] Okay Read - Suitable for a brief, afternoon escape … flat or shallow characters with little to no development. Over the top character dialog and/or behavior. Poor world building with significant issues and/or mistakes indicating poor research. Excessive use of trivial detail, info dumps and/or pontification. Any issues with the story/characters are offset by some other aspect that I enjoyed. Not very memorable. May only appeal to a niche group of readers. Recommended for some (YMMV).
- [ * ] Bad Read - Awkward and/or confusing writing style. Poor world building and/or unbelievable (or unlikeable) characters. Victimization, gaslighting, blatant abuse, unnecessary violence, child endangerment, or any other highly objectionable behaviors by Main characters. I didn't connect with the story at all; significant aspects of this story irritated me enough that I struggled to finished it. Series was abandoned. Not recommended.