Opening Notes on Lacugna’s God for Us

Lacugna, Catherine.  God for Us.  Harper San Francisco.

Argues that developing theological reflection slowly separated economy from theology, which made the Trinity appear more and more irrelevant.   I am not sure about her thesis in the specifics, but I think she is on to something:  positing an ontological God apart from God’s decision to redeem the world in Christ does create a metaphysical gap in God.  Like others before her, she seeks to correlate the pattern of God’s salvation in history with the being of God (Lacugna 4).

Introduction and Chapter 1

    Contrary to what might appear, she is not arguing a “fall” in the early church from Nicene onwards.  Rather, the early church necessarily (and rightly) used the philosophical and theological categories available to confront heresies.   The downside is that these categories made correct speech about God’s saving pattern in history increasingly difficult.

    Lacunga correctly downplays the so-called differences between East and West on the Trinity.  That there are differences is evident, but neither side has the clear advantage.   Both ended up separating the being of God from his Acts in history.

    “Economy” is the pattern of God’s saving actions in history.  It is “the order that expresses the mystery of God’s eternal being” (25; cf. Ephesians 1:3-14).   Few early theologians would deny this, but more and more were led, outside of a strong Nicene philosophy, to a subordinationist Christology:  God sends Christ who sends the apostles (and/or the Spirit).  Lacugna sees Irenaeus as evidencing this subordinationism, but I don’t think he is.   She says he is influenced by the Logos Christology of the Apologists, but the text she quotes from Irenaeus evidences nothing of the strict separation of Logos endiathetos/Logos prophorikos.  Of course, it would be equally mistaken to read a sophisticated Nicene understanding of “being” back into Irenaeus.

    After Irenaeus oikonomios took on a new connotation: (For Tertullian) “the economy of the divine being expresses the unity of the Father” (28).