This study, which is based on the 1992 Bampton Lectures delivered in the University of Oxford offers a theological analysis of and response to the modern world, and is at once a theology of culture and of creation. In the first half of the book, Professor Gunton expounds some of the distinctive and often contradictory features of modern culture. It is contended that the difficulties arise from inadequacies in the way both social and wordly beings are conceived, but that far from being unique modern culture here reflects similar inadequacies in ancient thought. The distinctive pathos of modernity is to be found in one unique feature, namely the displacement of God that is a mark of all realms of life. The roots of the problem are sought beyond the Enlightenment, where they are often located, in the combination of Platonism and Christian theology which dominated mediaeval Christian thought. At the heart of the matter is a deficient, because inadequately trinitarian, understanding of creation and creation's God. The second half of the book develops a theory of trinitarian transcendentals, whereby the relations between God and the world, and with it the distinctive being of the world - both personal and impersonal - can be conceived. The theology of createdness which results gives due weight to both the universal and the particular, both society and the individual.
"By suggesting that many of the ills of modernity reflect the displacement of God, Colin Gunton helps us to see our problem in a new light. Anyone concerned with theology and with its relation to the modern predicament must read The One, the Three and the Many." Stanley Hauerwas "[Gunton's] work merits wide and careful consideration. His study is meticulously structured, replete with signposts that enhance its readability as well as sturdily conveying his vigorous and thoroughly theological intellectual program." Nancy A. Dallavalle, Theological Studies