Friday, July 20, 2012

Taxonomy and the Trinity

I have been thinking about taxonomy. Maybe it's the variety of tomatoes growing in the greenhouse. Or the different kinds of mice, voles, moles, shrews we are discovering around our "farm." At any rate, taxonomy is on the mind. In that light...before Linnaeus, Aristotle, Adam (all of whom got involved in taxonomy), and before creation – there was only the Trinity. The taxonomy of the Trinity is inherent in the three distinct persons in the one God of the Christian faith: “the Father of Source, who is the origin of all things; the Son or Word, who comes forth from God and takes on human flesh; and the Spirit, the ‘Giver of Life,” who dwells in human hearts and animates the believing community.”[1] Taxonomy is indeed inherent in the Trinity and in His creation. It has been a part of human history since the beginning. Its roots are thoroughly theological rather than specifically scientific. Humans gain their perception of how the items and ideas of life are categorized and classified by living in and listening to the metanarrative that provides the overarching storyline for reality. Some classification is learned in an academic setting (like what is learned in high school biology class), but most human taxonomizing is tacit and learned at an early age.

[1] David S. Cunningham, "The Trinity," in The Cambridge Companion to Postmodern Theology, ed. Kevin J. Vanhoozer (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2003), 186. Note also Cunningham’s caution on using the word “person” in regards to the three persona of the Trinity. He believes “person” as it is used today evokes too much the concept of “individuality, autonomy, and even isolation from external relations” (189).

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