Wednesday Words: Perichoresis

I'm busy with quite a bit of academic work today, and it all hinges on perichoresis. So, rather than leave you Wednesday word-less, I thought I'd give you perichoresis as well (extracted from the middle of a rather long post from last year about another subject entirely).

The Father, Son and Holy Spirit are perfectly united in purpose and action. They're not three gods, each independently getting on with they're own agendas. No; Father, Son and Holy Spirit are one God with One plan, unitedly acting together in love.

Theologians have come up with the word perichoresis (or coinherence, as theologians are good at coming up with big words, but not always good at agreeing which big word to use for the same thing) to explain how this can be, that Father, Son and Holy Spirit are all fully involved in one another's works.

Perichoresis means that there is a mutual indwelling of the Persons of the Godhead. Jesus speaks of this in John's gospel:
Most assuredly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, but what He sees the Father do; for whatever He does, the Son also does in like manner.(John 5:19
He who has seen Me has seen the Father; so how can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? “Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father in Me? The words that I speak to you I do not speak on My own authority; but the Father who dwells in Me does the works. “Believe Me that I am in the Father and the Father in Me, or else believe Me for the sake of the works themselves. (John 14:9-11
the Father is in Me, and I in Him. (John 10:38)

The Son is in the Father and does whatever the Father does. And the Father is in the Son.

The ancient theologian John of Damascus explained perichoresis by writing that the Father, Son and Holy Spirit:
dwell and are established firmly in one another. For they are inseparable and cannot part from one another, but keep to their separate courses within one another, without coalescing or mingling, but cleaving to each other. For the Son is in the Father and the Spirit: and the Spirit in the Father and the Son: and the Father in the Son and the Spirit, but there is no coalescence or commingling or confusion. (De Fide Orthodoxa, I.14).
Because of this mutual indwelling, what one Person of the Godhead is involved in doing, the others are involved in doing too. That's perichoresis, the mutual indwelling of Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

(Next week's Wednesday word will be somewhat more familiar (and pronounceable!) - it'll be grace.)