The Trinity and Creation in Augustine

An Ecological Analysis

By Scott A. Dunham

Subjects: Religion, Philosophy, Environmental Studies, Environmental Philosophy, Christianity
Paperback : 9780791475249, 208 pages, July 2009
Hardcover : 9780791475232, 208 pages, August 2008

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Table of contents


The Ecological Problem of Dominion and the Doctrine of God
Ecologically Informed Theological Ethics: Interrelatedness in Ecology
The Problem of Hierarchy in Modern Theology

Part I
1. The Contemporary Critique of Augustine
The Forms of Eastern and Western Trinitarian Thought
Augustine’s Western Form of the Trinity: Modalism
The Trinity and the Doctrine of Creation: Cause and Effect
The Scriptural Basis of Augustine’s Trinitarian Doctrine

2. Augustine’s Doctrine of the Trinity
Subordinationism and the Divine Missions
Monarchy, Simplicity, and Relations of Origin: Augustine’s
Trinitarian Logic

3. Augustine and Hierarchy in the Trinity
Hierarchy and the Trinitarian Relations
Hierarchy and the Divine Substance

Part II
4. The Trinitarian Founding of Creation
The Structure of The Literal Meaning of Genesis
Naming the Trinity in Genesis 1
How the Trinity Founds the Creation 68 How the Trinity Converts and Perfects Creatures

5. Trinitarian Governance and Creaturely
Participation in God
Participation in Augustine’s Theology
God’s Providential Governance and Creaturely Motion
Participation in the Trinity through Measure, Number and Weight
Formless Matter and the Question of Passivity

6. Resting in God, the Image of God, and Dominion
Resting in God
Use and Enjoyment
The Work of Human Dominion and the Image of God
Dominion and Power


Looks at Augustine’s theology in light of environmental concerns.


The first English-language book on Augustine's Trinitarian doctrine of creation, The Trinity and Creation in Augustine explores Augustine's relevance for contemporary environmental issues. Modern, environmentally conscious thinkers often see Augustine's doctrines in a negative light, feeling they have been used to justify humankind's domination of nature. Considering Augustine's thought in his own time and in ours, Scott A. Dunham offers a more nuanced view. He begins with a consideration of the major themes that have characterized ecologically sensitive theologies and Augustine's place in those discussions. The primary examination considers how Augustine's doctrine of the Trinity informed his interpretation of the opening chapters of Genesis, especially his conceptions of divine creation, providence, and dominion. This analysis of Augustine's Trinitarian interpretation of Genesis stands in contrast to recent characterizations of classical conceptions of creation. The book concludes with a discussion of Augustine's relevance for modern theological thought by appraising Augustine's Trinitarian doctrine of creation in relation to ecological themes in theological ethics.

Scott A. Dunham is Visiting Scholar and Lecturer in Philosophy at the University of New Brunswick.


"…this book will probably appeal to a specialized, rather than a general audience: theologians, historians of doctrine, theological ethicists, and students of these disciplines. Pastors who desire to add depth to their preaching and teaching on the doctrines of the Trinity, Creation and environmental ethics will also benefit from reading this book." — Studies in Religion