Trinity as a Framework for a Theology of Religions


  • Reinhold Bernhardt


In the article, different approaches to apply the concept of the Trinity to the Theology of Religions are sketched and compared to each other: First, an ontological approach which assumes that traces of the trinity are to be found in the cosmos as a whole, in history, and thus in the history of religions, so that the basic expe-riences of the religious traditions can become integrated into a Trinitarian scheme. Second, a functionalist ap-proach which sees the function of the doctrine of the Trinity in mediating between God’s transcendence and the different modes of his immanence and asks for structural equivalents and functional analogies of that doc-trine in other religions. A third approach is preferred to those two. In contrast to those it takes as its starting point the material content of the Christian doctrine of the Trinity and unfolds that content in a way which ex-presses God's universal presence among humankind, irrespective of religious affiliations.