Can we know God from the world around us? Are there signs of Him that can be discovered in the various facets of human experience? Peter Leithart believes there is and gives us a reasonable explanation of his findings in Traces of the Trinity: Signs of God in Creation and Human Experience. Lest you see that title and think this volume as an exploration in empiricism, I invite you to grab this volume and be ushered into an intimate setting where the Almighty creator of the universe has given us analogies, as much as we understand them, as to the function of the Trinity and the way that plays out in our lives as we travel to that glorious city which has been prepared for those who believe in Christ.
Leithart makes clear from the outset his purpose for this volume, “The aim is to discover and lay bare echoes, vestiges, traces, clues to trinitarian life within the creation.” To make it a little more complex, his desire is to explore what has been termed “perichoresis”. By using that term he wants to examine the mutual indwelling of the persons of the trinity as they penetrate into our lives
By entering into this type of investigation it’s clear that the reader would have their worldview shaped in radically different ways had they not already been visualizing the world through the lens of the Trinity. Leithart not only makes this clear as a goal of this volume but as one reads through the chapters it’s hard not to be influenced by the cogent thought and beautiful prose. His writing presupposes an intimacy and he invites his readers to be a fly on the wall as he interacts with his subject, namely the Trinity, but in addition to that he is well acquainted with the scriptures by which God has revealed his character to us.
The greatest example of this mutual indwelling I found in this volume was in his chapter titled “Chords” where he wonderfully lays out the following statement;
“If music exhibits the quality of mutual penetration, and if the world is musical, then we have ground for thinking that the world as a whole exhibits this ghostly pattern of mutual habitation. Music’s form is a trace of the form of the whole cosmos. And, we might be forgiven another hope: if what is, is music, perhaps there is a musician; and if the music manifests the enfolded melodies and rhythms of the world itself, then perhaps that musician does too. Maybe we can even speculate that the musician is the melody we overhear in the music of the spheres, the rhythm that strikes out the count of the cosmos.” 94
It is statements like that, piled one after another that makes Traces of the Trinity an invaluable resource, not only for understanding the operation of the Trinity in the everyday stuff of life, but for the shaping of worldviews and ideas we hold of what God has to do with our personal lives. I can’t recommend this volume enough. It crosses literary boundaries and may be enjoyed by the apologist and the layman, the pastor and the congregant. This volume was written to show us the beauty of the Trinity and to equip us with new lenses that we may see that beauty at every turn.