A while back I posted a Christological Theology of the Psalms. At the end of that post I suggest that the Psalms can be read fruitfully as a an inter-trinitarian dialogue, that is as a conversation between the Son and the Father in the Spirit. This has a prima facie plausibility to me in light of the simple fact that the Psalms, more than any other book of the Old Testament are found on the lips of Jesus throughout the Gospels. Jesus finds in the Psalms his own prayers and speaks them as his own prayers to the Father.
If it is indeed the case that the Psalms can legitimately and fruitfully be read in this figural way, I wonder what we might glean from them in terms of trinitarian doctrine. In other words, if the Psalms are a discourse, a conversation between the Son and Father in their common Spirit, how might these Scriptures reshape and nurture our affirmations about the being of the triune God? I have two thoughts about where such reflections might lead us.
First, if the discourse between the Psalmist and Yahweh in the Psalms is reflective of the eternal conversation of Jesus and the Father, we are forced to think of the divine life in an intensely personal and dynamic manner. The pleas throughout the Psalms for divine help, even a prayer as radical as “take not your Holy Spirit from me!” (Ps. 51:5), if read trinitarianly propels us to think about the divine life of communion between the Father and Son, not a static given, but a dynamic being given. The Son does not posses the Father but stands ever in need of the Father. The Father likewise stands in need of the Son, without whom he will be without praise, love, and adoration. Without the living Son, there is none to behold the Father’s radiance or declare his reality to the world (cf. Ps. 30:9). We could say, on the basis of the Psalmic discourse that the Son is the visibility of the Father, without whom the Father cannot be himself. One of the fascinating (and perhaps ontologically radical) implications of the Psalms for trinitarian doctrine is that essential neediness is not foreign to the life of the Trinity. The sort of vulnerability, instability, and dependence that we experience as creatures is not a reality that is foreign to the life of God. Rather, in God the reality of ontological neediness is embraced in an overabundant life of gift. In the Trinity, being is not a given, but a dynamic being given which can only be received through the embrace, rather than the eschewal of need and dependence.
Second, if the Pslams reflect the eternal trinitiarian conversation, they testify to the irreducible historicality of God’s way of being God. The eternal trinitarian conversation includes the history of Israel, the church, and the world. God’s eternal discourse between the Son and the Father in the Spirit includes, grounds, and sustains the world of chance and change. Indeed, on the basis of the Psalms we can say that God’s way of being God is identical with his being God for us. The immanent, eternal discourse between the Son and the Father includes, embraces, and upholds creaturely reality. God’s immanent life is found, not above, but profoundly within history, or rather history itself is found within the triune discourse. The self-abnegating hesed of Yahweh, and the kenosis of Jesus are the elocutions of the triune discourse through which creation finds its being as an inflection, a rhythm, a non-necessary participant within the eternal conversation that is the triune God.
There is certainly much more that could and must be said about a Christological and trinitarian reading of the Psalms. What other vistas and horizons of discovery might there be for theological interpretation if we approach the Psalms as inter-Trinitarian discourse? If people have thoughts, I want to continue such a conversation. Who knows, such a conversation might even catch and experience a few of the inflections within the historical and eternal triune discourse!