Extended Abstract

Trinity, Freedom and Love is a revision of my doctoral dissertation, "Elementally Interrupted: Divine and Human Freedom in the Thought of Eberhard Jüngel," which I completed in April 2011.  Here is the original dissertation abstract:

The principal goal of this study is to engage Eberhard Jüngel’s views on freedom and, with the help of this engagement, to think through the intimate connection of the doctrine of God and anthropology.  This larger goal contains within itself two objectives.  The first is investigative and has to do with critically analyzing the divine-human togetherness in Jüngel’s theology through the lens of freedom.  The second, constructive objective is to ask critically whether Jüngel’s doctrine of God is able to support the anthropological effects that Jüngel ascribes to God’s being; and, in light of this study’s findings, to put forth a way of intertwining even more closely and seamlessly trinitarian and anthropological conceptualities.


The argument unfolds in four major moves.  First, I examine Jüngel’s critique of the modern notion of freedom as rooted in the self-securing and self-possession of an allegedly autonomous subject.  Second, I analyze Jüngel’s account of divine freedom.  This analysis shows Jüngel’s construal to be ultimately dissonant in its two central emphases: the inalienable spontaneity and creativity of God’s being, on the one hand, and the inter-subjective character of God’s self-determination as a trinitarian event of love, on the other.  God’s subjectivity is shown to border, as a result, on predominant self-relatedness, which Jüngel rejects as unfreedom in anthropological terms.  In its third move, the argument then turns to the being of the person as elementally interrupted and so not only freed but brought into correspondence with God.  My focus here is chiefly on the person’s two acts of existence.  Finally, I develop the ontological implications of the two existential acts of the free person.  With their help I offer a way of resolving the ambiguity present in Jüngel’s account of God’s self-determination.  This study’s central, constructive claim is that in God there also are two acts of existence, grounded in two distinct manners of trinitarian relationality.  Next to what I call the logic of love, there is the logic of freedom.  Without sacrificing God’s originary creativity, it enables God to enter into a successful togetherness with the humanity God liberates and thus to determine God’s self in an inter-subjective manner as an event of love.