I remember reading this sometime during my university days, having already read (and suffered indigestion) from reading another classic work on the doctrine of God – Knowing God by J.I. Packer – and wondering what a book a third of the length could offer that the thicker one couldn’t. Now don’t get me wrong, I love Knowing God, but I found The Everlasting God even more impacting and even more profound.
To this day Knox’s chapter on “God in Trinity” is still the chapter I go back to in order to understand the Biblical teaching on this most profound of doctrines. And I love it not just because he summarises the Bible’s teaching on the Trinity. I love it because he engages with the doctrine as a good theologian does. He expounds the Biblical doctrine and then teases out its implications far and wide.
It was Knox who taught me that the doctrine of the Trinity, far from an obscure teaching that Christians ought to be embarrassed to speak about, was actually the cornerstone, capstone and glory of the Christian faith. The Trinity reveals the very ‘stuff’ of reality: God in his very essence is love. He didn’t become loving only when he created an-other to love, for within himself he was and is and will be eternally in loving relationship. And we were created to image God and thus to be, in our very constitution, other-person-centred and relational. This relationship furthermore is ordered. There is an order without subservience or inequality. From here stems our belief that male-female relationships can be ‘equal but different’.
Now all of this stuff is probably not new to a lot of people today, but I think Knox’s book is the first one that I came across which spelt it out so clearly and so succinctly. For that reason alone it deserves to be read and re-read.