What do I think of Gilles Emery’s book? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.
Emery’s book is stated to be a book on Catholic doctrine on the triune God. That being said, the Trinity is a doctrine for all branches of Christianity. If you are Protestant or Orthodox, there is still a lot you can get from this book.
Actually, as I read it, I found myself thinking the book read very much like a Protestant book on the Trinity could read. This is not at all to knock Catholics or imply that they are thinking like Protestants, but I did see the constant emphasis on pointing to Scripture primarily. About the only major difference it looks to me is that Catholics tend to cite more Catholic sources and Protestants tend to cite more Protestant sources. A Protestant like myself would not likely go and cite the Catechism in order to demonstrate the Trinity.
Something else refreshing is that while Emery is writing about deep topics, and sometimes it could be hard to follow, generally, it isn’t. Emery doesn’t come off as if he’s writing to academics. He’s writing to the layman, but at the same time, he is encouraging the layman to go deeper. You will find talk about divine simplicity, for instance, and how that works with the Trinity.
Yet as you are going into these “deeper waters” (couldn’t resist) of the Trinity, Emery takes your hand step by step. This is not a sudden plunge. This is a gradual wading as the Trinity is explained at a steady rate until one gets into the deeper topics. You start with just examining the confessions of the Trinitarian faith and then end with discussing the saving action of the Trinity.
For instance, consider the word God. What does this mean? It is a mistake of groups like the JWs and others to assume that God means Father. The first mistake these groups make is the assumption that God is unipersonal. If you make a one-to-one equivalent of God and Father, you have a problem, but if you realize God is not referring to a person alone but rather speaks of a nature that is fully embraced by a tripersonal being, it fits.
Thus, when we say Jesus is God, it is easy to take that to mean that Jesus is the Trinity or some modalistic sense, but what is really meant is that Jesus is a person who fully possesses the nature of God. The same applies to the Spirit and the Father. This doesn’t mean that there is no difference in relation as the Father is usually seen as the origin and the Son and Spirit exist both because the Father exists as well.
The Trinity is not an easy doctrine to understand, if one can really understand it all as it is more likely to be apprehended. However, with resources like Emery’s, Christians can have a better grasp on it. I recommend this reading not just to Catholics, but to Protestants and to Orthodox as well. The chapters are long, but not too long. A dedicated reader can go through one per day and thus finish the book in a week, a worthwhile investment.
(And I affirm the virgin birth)