Author: Ernest Simmons
Bibliographic info: 160 pp.
Publisher: Fortress Press, 2014.
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I enjoy reading the occasional book on quantum physics and I love to read books on theology. This short book combines the two by seeking to explore the question of what our current scientific understanding of the quantum world can contribute to our understanding of the Trinity in relation to creation. The author’s thesis is that “perichoresis evolves within the Trinitarian life of God an entangled superposition, relating Creator and creation in mutual interaction, supporting a panentheistic model of God.”
The table of contents is as follows:
I. Foundational Concepts
II. Trinitarian Development
4. Bible to Nicaea
5. Constantinople to the Reformation
6. Contemporary Trinitarian Development
III. Science and the Trinity
7. Theology, Science, and Quantum Theory
8. Perichoretic Trinitarian Panentheism
9. The Entangled Trinity
As the table of contents may indicate, most of the book is more of an introductory look at the doctrine of the Trinity, with only the last three chapters (particularly ch. 9) really discussing how quantum theory can be used to elucidate our understanding of God and creation. The historical treatment discusses figures such as Irenaeus, Tertullian, Athanasius, the Cappadocians (and their notion of perichoresis), Augustine, Bonaventure, Aquinas, Luther, and so forth. In the final chapters Simmons argues that perichoresis (a theological term) and entanglement (a quantum physics term) can function as “parallel metaphors”, with the latter providing us with an opportunity to more fully explicate a panentheistic understanding of God’s relationship to the world. Furthermore, he contends that the immanent Trinity exists in simultaneous superposition with the economic Trinity, or in his own words: “Christ kenotically emptied himself of the immanent perichoresis of the Trinity in order to enter into the economic perichoresis of the creation.”
All in all, any book that discusses Trinitarian theology in conjunction with Niels Bohr’s Copenhagen interpretation of the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle is bound to be interesting, if not a bit mystifying and–no doubt to some–perhaps a tad bit perturbing with the panentheistic model of God that the author puts forth.