Last night I read this passage from a guy named John Webster on the Holy Spirit and the Trinity. It’s a little dense, but very thought provoking, and so I wanted to post it here (the first paragraph), along with the quote I tried to read (the last paragraph), but didn’t have with me. I’ve included other portions from the same section as well, for context.
Unity is a relational term when applied to God: the divine unity is not monadic, relationless and undifferentiated. Rather, it is organic and dynamic, expressed in the personal histories of the sending of the Son and the outpouring of the Spirit. ‘The Divine unity is a dynamic unity actively unifying in the one Divine life the lives of the three Divine persons’. Divine unity does not lie behind the threeness of God; rather, it is the event of the peace of the divine life between Father, Son and Spirit.
This will…involve careful specification of the notion of ‘person’ as applied to God. ‘Person’ is again to be conceived relationally: the person is not an autonomous subject but rather is constituted as person in relationship and dialogue. Understood in this way, the divine ‘personality’ or ‘subjectivity’ does not preclude relationship and differentiation; indeed, it is relationship. God’s personality is God’s relatedness to himself.
If God’s triunity is thus understood as a personal, related society, then the danger of absorption of the Spirit into the person of Christ will be considerably lessened, precisely because God’s being will be seen as fully plural. A pluralist understanding of God’s being, moreover, will furnish the
basis for understanding the distinct role of the Spirit in the divine economy, related to but properly distinguished from those of
Father and Son. This will, in turn, serve to reinforce a sense of the distinct identity of the Spirit…
First, the Spirit is the one who is sent out into the world through the church and who thus demonstrates that God’s life is a life open to the creation. Because the Spirit is sent, ‘the triune God is the God who is open to man, open to the world, and open to time’. The Spirit is a protest against monadic conceptions of God in which the divine life is seen as ‘a closed triangle’, complete in the enjoyment of its own inner relationship and unconcerned to reach beyond itself into the history of the world…