One of the central theses of Eberhard Jüngel’s book God’s Being is in Becoming is that the doctrine of the Trinity is our interpretation of God’s own self-interpretation. For Jüngel, God’s revelation perfectly corresponds to Godself. The triune God is the one who corresponds to himself. His being is his act, and the revelation of the Trinity in Christ and the Spirit constitutes God’s self-interpretation. The economic Trinity is God interpreting himself before us, it is God’s act of saying who and what God is within the realm of created being.
It seems to me that Jüngel’s construal of the Trinity as God’s self-interpretation might offer a helpful way to mediate the various debates surrounding the relationship between the man Jesus and the eternal trinitarian Son. If Jüngel is correct that the economic Trinity is God’s self-interpretation, could we not argue that Jesus is the self-interpretation of the eternal trinitarian Son? Thus, it isn’t strictly accurate to speak of the Logosas having an incarnate and an unincarnate state in a static sense. Rather, the man Jesus himself is the eternal self-interpretation of the Son. From all eternity the Son of the Father interprets himself as Jesus of Nazareth. And because God’s act of self-interpretation is identical with God himself, the Son’s self-interpretation of himself as Jesus means that Jesus simply is the eternal trinitarian Son without remainder.
And thus, as Jüngel says, God’s self-interpretation, the event of decision to be the God that he is identical with the eternal being of God. God is the event of his own decision and that decision is “not to be understood only as a decision for God, but also . . . as a decision for humanity” (p. 81). This “decision for humanity” which is eternally included in the event of the triune God is precisely the decision we see actualized in the man Jesus. A proper understanding of the second person of the Trinity requires us to begin and end on this point. If we grant that the actualistic ontology of Jüngel (and Barth, and perhaps Aquinas as well) is the most appropriate theological construal of being, then we are forced to conclude that the man Jesus is the eternal self-interpretation of the trinitarian Son. Everything that we behold in Jesus belongs to the eternal identity of the triune God. The Lamb slain from the foundation of the world is the Nazarene.