One of the most common ways of talking of the Trinity is to speak of the immanent Trinity and the economic Trinity. The former refers to how God is in himself apart from his works in history. The immanent Trinity describes the relationship that the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit have with each other. The latter term refers to how the Trinity works in history. So the Father sends the Son into the world to save the world.
The idea is sound. We can think of God in eternity and of God in history. But I fear using the phrases “immanent Trinity” and “economic Trinity” fails to helpfully describe the Trinity for a number of reasons.
In Fred Sanders’ excellent book (see the review), The Triune God, he details the origin of this distinction (which is very recent!) and some of the problems with these terms. I’d love to recount my summary of his argument here because, to my mind, the way we talk about God is a big deal. We don’t want describe God in ways that are not true; and we want to know God in truth. Because when crisis comes, we need to turn to the true God, not the God that we have wrongly fashioned in our minds.
I propose that we should avoid the language of the immanent Trinity and Economic Trinity and, instead, use the language of God’s theologia (being) and oikonomia (work in history). The second term, oikonomia, is the word “economic” but it means something a pinch different than what the phrase the economic Trinity conveys. I’ll explain more at the end of the article.
So here are three reasons to ditch the language of the immanent Trinity and Economic Trinity. [Read more…] about Why I Stopped Talking about The Immanent and Economic Trinity