One reason why Christians believe in the doctrine of the Trinity is because the Father, Son, and Spirit share the same power, and by this power, the three inseparably operate. In particular, God alone has the power to create–creatures do not. For this reason, since the Father, Son, and Spirit create, they share the same power. Their activities reveal a shared power, a power only applicable to God.
What I have described in brief is one way how the inseparable operations of God lead to trinitarian thinking. For that reason, Adonis Vidu’s recent work The Same God Who Works All Things describes a reason why we confess God as Triune. His subtitle reads Inseparable Operations in Trinitarian Theology. These inseparable operations refer to what I have detailed above: how the Father, Son, and Spirit—God—inseparably operate.
The book, basically, supplies the grammar to talk about God as we worship him. By grammar, I mean fitting language to describe how the Bible reveals Father, Son, and Spirit as well as the grammatical constructions that we can use to avoid error or heresy.
I have two minor complaints. First, Vidu uses “we” when he means “I,” and while I know this used to be conventional, I think younger readers will find this form of “we” distasteful because it feels artificial. Yes, this is minor. My second minor complaint involves the chapter on the atonement. Possibly because Vidu reuses prior published material the chapter feels “off pace” from other chapters. It also, to my mind, did not deliver as much direct correction to contemporary Protestant mistakes on the cross and the Trinity as might be warranted.
With these minor criticisms aside, The Same God Who Works All Things contributes to Christian scholarship by offering a sustained study on inseparable operations (I know of no other work that does it); it also contributes to Protestant theological thinking which has lamentably gone into decline during the 20th century and now, through works like this, has begun to enter into a time of new birth.
The particular success of Vidu’s work is to provide a way of speaking about the biblical data regarding God while remaining faithful to the Scriptural text. The chapters that discuss God’s relationship to creation and in particular with the Word assuming humanity provide patterns of thought that help make sense of God’s relationship to creation.
The grammar that Vidu provides language to describe what we can only worship and not fully comprehend. The ad extra (external) operations of God by analogy give us a glimpse at the inner life of God (pp. 93–94). They do not directly reveal the infinite plenitude of Being to us but, according to our created capacity, give us the knowledge of the same God who works all things: Father, Son, and Spirit.
Vidu has provided the academy and church with a text that will help the latter worship in spirit and truth and the former understand the coherency of the Christian confession. Read it. Pastors who have the stamina for technical works ought to read it. Students, professors, and those researching trinitarian thought ought to read The Same God Who Works All Things.
Disclaimer: the publisher sent me a review copy. Book image for social share from Eerdmans’s website here.