|Rowan Williams, The Archbishop of Canterbury|
I love reading the theology of Rowan Williams. He is a keen thinker, able to bypass over-simplistic labeling and pigeonholing (he also has amazing eye-brows). His book On Christian Theology (Challenges in Contemporary Theology) has a wonderful essay called "On Being Creatures," an often overlooked topic, to be sure. To live the good life, one must remember what life is: creation! And we are, as a result, creatures. Understanding what that means makes all the difference for whether or not we can actually live the good life. As I read Williams' chapter on creatures today, I was inspired (by all of it...) by this bit in particular:
"...self love presupposes self-giving. I can't love myself without being a loved object, which means being, in some measure, given into another's hands, another's life. To say that God is without need is to say that God's identity does not wait upon being an object for what is not God. God, it seems, 'needs' only God. Yet there is a world, there is what is not God, something for which God is. As creatures, existing because of the utterance of God, we know that God desires to be God for what is not God -- desires pleasure or flourishing of what is not God. This desire is groundless, in the sense that nothing other than God causes it, and that it cannot be a device to assist God in being God, but it is not arbitrary, because there is no extraneous or random element with God's being God. What God utters (as suggested earlier) is God: the summons to the world to be, and to find its fruition in being the presence of God, sets 'outside' god the kind of life that is God's. So if God's act of creation gratuitously establishes God as the one who is supremely there for the world, it seems we must say that God is already one whose being is a 'being for,' whose joy is eternally in the joy of another; and since God, as we have said, does not 'wait upon' becoming an object to another, we are led to think of God's own self as eternal identity in otherness, a self-affirming in giving away. 'Love in God does not result but originates. . . because God is God, the absolutely original, the absolutely originating, an eternal process of self-affirming in self love.' (Rowan Williams, On Christian Theology, 73-24. His last quote is taken from Sebastian Moore's Inner Loneliness (Inner Loneliness, Paper, p.108)It's from this robust doctrine of creation, Williams is able to develop a properly trinitarian doctrine of God. God is (one substance) three persons who are in a dynamic relation of self-giving.