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Friends in God: A Foundational Motif in Classical Reflections on the Divine Economy

F. Gerald Downing

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A “social” model of the Trinity, warmly debated in the last century, seems to have lost influence (witness the recent Oxford Handbook of the Trinity). It is argued here, however, that far from being a modern innovation, as suggested, a “friendship” model was integral to Pauline and Johannine and then Cappadocian reflections on Father, Son, Spirit. Some of the key terms in ancient discussions of friendship are collated here in supportive illustration. A critically appraised model of friendship, it is then proposed, is fitting for those who trust we are being creatively sustained, redeemed, hallowed, and transformed to share in the divine life.

 
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