As well as Chalcedonian Christology (cf. Part II), the Trinity plays a central role in Anselm’s exposition of the Atonement. In fact without the Trinity Anselm’s understanding of the Atonement will be rendered invalid. Anselm is a passionate advocate of the Triune God, be it his understanding of soteriology, creation or anthropology, they are all governed by his appreciation of the Trinity.
In Cur Deus Homo, Anselm reiterates the classic view that the work of one of the divine persons belongs to the three Trinitarian persons. Due to the Turin nature of God, through the Incarnation, the divine Son, being different from the Father, offers himself to the self-same divinity of the Father and the Holy Spirit, hence the offering he makes is an offering made to his own honour – the three persons. In fact, without plurality in oneness Anselm’s soteriology will simply collapse. A singular monad, precisely because he is singular, cannot offer to himself the necessary offering discussed in Part I. However, since God is Trinity, the plurality of persons in unity and oneness of nature, the Son can make an offering to the Father. The one divine nature that the Son shares with the Father and the Spirit is the factor value of the ransom required by God; hence the divinity of the Son is the perfect match for the magnitude of the recompose required by God of humankind. 
To Anselm, the particularity of the Son determines the unique nature and character of the content of salvation. Anselm pays particular attention to the particularity of the Son as the fitting person who should assume human nature; the Incarnation was uniquely suited to be the mission of the Son, rather than the Father or the Spirit. For if the Spirit was to be incarnate, Anselm argues, then there were going to be two sons, one human the other divine. Likewise, if the Father was to be incarnate, as well as two sons, there were going to be two grandsons. I.e. the Father would have been the grandson of the parents of Mary, and the Word would become the grandson of Mary, for he will be the son of her son.This argument may seem strange to our 21st-century ears, but, as bizarre as it is, it does reveal two important features of the importance of the Trinity in Anselm’s soteriological thought:
Firstly, it emphasises the importance of the concept of union. I.e. in salvation, through Christ, humanity is brought into union with God, to share in the divine life, which consequently re-establishes human life. At times, Anselm is criticised for not taking into account the key patristic notion of theosis.  The criticism to a certain extent is justified, for Anselm is very much at home with the Augustinian concept of Original Sin resulting from the Fall, hence his soteriology is more of a looking back with a focus on the reparation of the human condition and restoration to per-fall condition. However, because of the Incarnation, as well as looking back, Anselm is also looking forward. For, due to the Son’s assumption of human nature, the man Jesus has a permanent place in the life of the Trinity. The existence of the new man on the heavenly throne secures a future for humanity, as Deme argues, for Anselm, ‘The incarnation is the proof of the existence of redeemed humanity, and therefore the proof of man’s existence’.As Anselm, when considering the Cross, puts it ‘in the Incarnation of God…no humiliation of God came about: rather…the human nature was exalted.’ Here, though resurrection and theosis are not explicitly mentioned, nevertheless, implicitly, Anselm’s belief amounts to a similar outcome.
Secondly, and this is important for modern Trinitarian discussions, Anselm takes the Trinitarian titles, Father, Son and Spirit, with utmost seriousness. The names, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are not mere empty symbolic titles, a simple means of communication with no real substance to them. To Anselm, the names are what they suggest; the persons are truly and eternally Father, Son and Spirit. Anselm is not threatened by a God who is Father, Son and Spirit; the concrete identity of the Turin persons does not pose andy threat to the value and identity of human beings. As we saw above, when thinking of the Incarnation, it is precisely the Son’s Son-ness that renders him suitable to assume human nature. It is because he is the Son of God by nature he can give us to be sons by adoption. this means that the content of salvation entails more than forgiveness, to include the gift of being indwelled by the Son’s Spirit and to be given the privilege of calling his Abba our Abba. This being the case, we can conclude that without God’s Triune identity Anselm’s soteriology falls apart. To be continued…
 As early as the second century it was understood that the Father works through the Son by the Spirit, cf. St. Irenaeus of Lyons, On Apostolic Preaching, I. 5, the same is argues by Augustine in fifth-century cf. Augustine, On the Trinity, XIII 4.
 Cf. CDH. II. 18.
 Cf. Deme Daniel, The Christology of Anselm of Canterbury, pp.104-105.
 Cf. CDH. II. 9.
 Cf. O’Collins, SJ Gerald, Jesus our Redeemer: A Christian approach to Salvation, p.134-140.
 Cf. Deme, ibid, p.182.
 CDH. II. 7.
One thought on “Celebrating Cur Deus Homo – Part III: Anselm’s Trinitarian foundation”
[…] The Cross was a free choice. As the divine Son Jesus is omnipotent, hence it was within his capacity to freely choose to undergo death. This being the case, Christ, both as a human and divine freely offers his life to God. As the representative of humanity, Christ offers his life to God on humanity’s behalf. As God the Son, his magnitude matches the value of the ransom required by God. Hence, Christ, the God-Man offers the perfect satisfactory ransom on humanities behalf. This offering results in liberating humanity from sin, making eternal life in the presence of God a sure destiny of the redeemed. For, what is true of the Incarnate Son of God, is now also true of us. As the divine nature liberated the human nature in the person of Christ, in the same way, the Incarnate and Crucified Chris liberates humanity from death and decay, investing mankind with immortality. As Anselm puts it, by assuming flesh and suffering ‘no humiliation of God came about: rather it is believed that human nature was exalted’. Click here for Part III […]