Thursday, December 13, 2012

On the Nature of the Trinity

I muse on the nature of the Trinity. It is one of the great paradoxes of the Christian faith that God is considered to be One God, yet exists in three separate persons, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost (or Spirit). Is God one or three?

It is not enough to say that God the Father is God outside the Universe (outside of space and time), God the Son is God operating within the universe (many scriptures tell us that the Son did the actual creating of the Universe), and God the Spirit is God at work within the non-material part of man (which may have spillover into the physical mind and body). Man himself seems to be ordered on a shadow of this pattern, with a spirit which has a basic orientation, a mind which considers how to operate and obtain his desires, and a body which acts out the unctions of the spirit as ordered through the mind. Sometimes of course, the three facets of our nature can be at odds with each other. Our body could be tired while our mind and spirit want it to keep going. Our mind can dwell on thoughts which grieve our spirit.

Still, we are not three persons, at most we are one person with a body, soul, and spirit. Describing the members of the Trinity based solely on how they operate risks falling into the trap of de-personalizing the persons of the Trinity into mere modalities or manifestations of a single being. As we see how Christ operated with the Father in scripture it is clear that we are looking at two beings even if they are both God. The Son had an independent will, which He choose to align with that of God the Father.

I believe the paradox can be resolved by the simple understanding that God is a higher order being than man is. Each person of the Trinity is every bit as much a complete individual being as we are (if not more), but together they are united as a higher order (the highest order) being.

Consider the case of a world of single-celled organisms. They float around in their pond and interact. Paramecium, Amoeba, Algae, and various Foraminifera scoot around doing their thing. Then a multi-cellular organism arrives on the scene. Each cell of the single animal would, if it existed on its own, be its own animal. Yet each of those animals, though every bit as much a complete cell as all the other unicellular animals, is also a higher-order animal. To be touched by a cell composing a limb of the animal is the same as being touched by the animal. The three, or the many, are also one. They are fully cell and fully multi-cellular animal.

Through becoming members of the Body of Christ, we can be integrated into the Godhead. We lose our selves, but not our individuality, by the process of conforming our will to His. This corporate being, the Body of Christ, which has access to the Divine Highest order of life, has I believe, a counterfeit rival. Just as God wishes mankind to join together in corporate being, so Satan desires it. In the Kingdom of God, incorporation is by permission, desire, and free will of the individual person. Their individuality is not lost, but renewed. Like Christ, no matter how great their unity in the Godhead, they retain their individual free will - but they choose to align it with the Father because in this kingdom all government is self-government.

In the counterfeit corporate being planned by the Devil, the problem of individuality is handled differently. Rather than renewal of the existing individual with permission, the group will is employed to crush the individual will. Coercion is the tactic and external government of all kinds is the tool. That or some other sin, all of which lead to slavery- a condition in which our own will is subjugated rather than submitted. This view of life sees individuality as a disease to be stamped out for the good of the whole, rather than a gift that has a rightful place to serve.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

This post seems to read a lot like my Catholic catechism...I am assuming you are not Catholic but seem to think a lot like one. If you ever get bored you should read through some of the catechism or just google Catholic apologetics. It might surprise you what you find.

4:04 PM, December 14, 2012  

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