9 Jun 2007

Regarding your thoughts on the Trinity

Submitted by theshovel
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Jim, I have read through a lot of your stuff and it has cause me to rethink areas of Scripture. My question is, do you believe Jesus was God in the flesh? I know that the concept of the Trinity seems to trouble you because of the confines it places on a mysterious nature, but I haven’t read anything precise about the nature of Jesus of yours (man and God?). George

Hello George! :) Glad to hear from you.

I’m not real sure what you mean by “precise”, but I’m thinking you might be referring to the traditionally accepted statements. Of course, you are probably well aware that I seem to avoid most of these usually quoted statements. After all, if the truth found in those statements is worth anything then that truth might ought to be written another way, especially when people have gotten so used to hearing those words that they don’t actually hear them any more.

You asked, “do you believe Jesus was God in the flesh?” I ask if it’s possible that in looking for a particular phrase you might be missing the obvious of what I have written about the nature of Jesus? I think we’ve confused ourselves with our clarity and have learned how not to see the familiar. :) Consider some of what I wrote:

  • You want to know something else this doctrine pushes? That the separation between man and God has not really been bridged in Christ in any real way because it still exists and will always exist. For the doctrine teaches that God is God and man is man and never the two will mix. But then what of Jesus? Isn’t he the joining of God and man?
  • It was THE WORD that was made flesh and dwelt among us
  • It was the EXPRESSION OF GOD that got joined together with the creation that gave God His Son. Not Jesus Christ, a creation of God, but the joining of the CREATOR with the CREATION
  • You see, Jesus is the mediator between God and man.
  • To recognize that the life of God within Christ (or Jesus) was from the beginning is to recognize that God has been forever joined together with man in Christ. And this is the same life that is found in us.
  • I also think it is a DENIAL of the real Jesus Christ who is the very definition of “God in man”. Though the doctrine seems to elevate God to His rightful position as “God” it only serves to destroy everything He brought about in Christ.
  • But the truth of Jesus is not that Jesus became God, but that God became FLESH!! The doctrine of the Trinity has successfully given lip-service to the very details of the death, burial, and resurrection but then portrays the one by whom God has established union with Himself as being separate from those who have been made one. The Trinity doctrine presents the miracle as something that never really happened by distracting our attention from the UNION of God and man in Christ.
  • Well, the word that came forth from God is the EXACT REPRESENTATION OF HIS NATURE, it goes and does exactly as God desires. And that word is the same that became flesh and walked among man … and having died and risen is now our life.
  • Jesus is the exact expression of God made flesh. He is the embodiment of the desires of God. As being born in the flesh he became the perfect union between the creation brought into being through him and God himself. We CANNOT understand this union through any type of study or logic, but ONLY from being joined together with God through Christ. As a matter of fact, this is the miraculous confession John referred to in his first letter by which one would recognize a believer, for it was an inner knowledge that could not help but come out in one form or another.

See, in view of statements such as these I would think my thoughts on Jesus’ nature are pretty clear. Tell me what it is that you do or don’t hear in these things. :)

Jim, What do you believe about the Deity of Christ? George

What does the phrase, Deity of Christ mean to you?

Jim

Jim, Yes, I believe in the Deity of Jesus, considering that half of His chromosomes came from the Holy Spirit and half from His mom, thus His nature is God and man; not that I truly understand how this could be. This is why in part I believe the term “Trinity was coined”, to help us to understand that Jesus, the Holy Spirit and the Father are one unit yet separate in person. After reading your material on the Trinity, Jesus etc, I get the impression that you adhere to a type of modalism.
In addition, I feel if you take your understanding of God life within Christ or in us to it is furthest aspect, we are like Him (Jesus) without any distinction becomes dangerous. I know that I never lived a sinless life or raised anyone from the dead only Jesus did. So, where do you draw the line in the paradigm of yours? You write: “But the truth of Jesus is not that Jesus became God, but that God became FLESH!! The doctrine of the Trinity has successfully given lip-service to the very details of the death, burial, and resurrection but then portrays the one by whom God has established union with Himself as being separate from those who have been made one.”
Isn’t the word Elohim in Hebrew for God in Genesis 1, a plural aspect of the word for God? Thus again the need to represent the nature of God in ways that help us understand, like the word “Trinity”. Though the term or any example we try to use to explain God is never enough. Scripture says that Jesus is the fullness of God in the flesh (Col.2:9), I do not see Scripture saying that about believers, though we are filled with the Holy Spirit. George

Hi George :)

I didn’t ask you if you believed in the Deity of Jesus, rather I asked what the phrase meant to you. Millions of people the world over claim to believe in the Deity of Jesus … and I have to wonder what that means to many of those, especially considering some of the other teachings that some Deity-believers also hold.

What makes you assume that the Holy Spirit contributed any chromosomes? It may sound logical, but it’s just a speculative claim … and one I’m well familiar with. I sure wouldn’t hang my hat on it. After all, the only thing we know about human chromosomes comes from a scientific examination and explanation of humans.

In suggesting that I adhere to a type of modalism (a term I’m vaguely familiar with) does that actually help you to get a handle on what you think I believe? I’m not asking this for any other reason than to challenge why you feel the need to label me. If I had sensed any real life in whatever it is that is taught under the heading of modalism I would have remembered it. So far, I’ve found all such explanations of God, Trinity, Deity to be missing the boat. They simply, in the end, leave out the miraculous connection in God being joined to man in the one man, Jesus Christ.

The truth is that I’m not trying to come up with an explanation of God. Why not? Because Jesus Christ IS the explanation of God. Period.

In addition, I feel if you take your understanding of God life within Christ or in us to it is furthest aspect, we are like Him (Jesus) without any distinction becomes dangerous. I know that I never lived a sinless life or raised anyone from the dead only Jesus did. So, where do you draw the line in the paradigm of yours? George

I think it would be more correct for you to say, “I feel that if I were to take my understanding of your understanding to its furthest aspect…” LOL I think the idea of discussing doctrine forces people into trying to explain the miraculous through intellectual logic. That’s when we think we need to draw lines.

If you weren’t focused on the logistical ramifications of what you’re afraid I might be leading to, I think you would realize that I have made so many clear distinctions about how Christ has become life to us. We are because HE is. The life in us is Christ, for he has become our life. We have died because HE died. We have been raised because HE was raised. He is the first, the firstborn of his church, the body. He is the forerunner, the author and finisher of our faith. Everything true about him has been made to be true about us. He is our wisdom, he is our righteousness ….

But from Him you are in Christ Jesus, who for us became wisdom from God, as well as righteousness, sanctification, and redemption, in order that, as it is written: The one who boasts must boast in the Lord. 1 Corinthians 1:30

Do you think it’s possible that by reasoning according to this doctrine of the Trinity that you might have assumed my conclusions would become something other than what I have written about in almost everything I write? :)

Jim

Jim, Let me start a fresh by telling you a little about myself. [I have omitted the personal family info - Jim] I have been a Christian since 1976, which happen right before I got out of the Marine Corp. Over the years, I have prided myself in being doctrinally correct, I read through the Bible about once every year and a half. At this point in life, I now question just about every thing that I once was so sure I had a handle on in the spiritual realm, except my salvation.
I have appreciated reading many of your writings and they have caused me to rethink many issues of the Christian life. I know you didn’t ask me if I believe in the Deity of Jesus, but to answer what His Deity means to me, is to first acknowledge that I believe Him to be God in the flesh. The reason I used the word “modalism” is not to label you but to try to understand where you are coming from. It reads as if you believe that God entered Jesus and became flesh. Where as Scripture such as Phil. 2:5 seem to say that Jesus was equal with God but condescended and became man. I believe since Jesus was both God and man, qualified Him to be a substitute in my place and anyone less would not have been payment for my sins. Because I believe in the Deity of Christ and believe He was man, I can truly accept He knows what my life is like (trials, joys, doubts, etc).
Because He is God in the flesh, I feel I have some one tangible to relate with. Because I believe He is God, He is able to be with others like my wife, children and friends I can readily see His attributes in them (love, humor, wisdom, etc). I know you are probably thinking, that God (the Father) could exhibited Himself in these ways, but the Father chose Jesus to be His representation. We know Jesus, we know the Father. You write: George

If you weren’t focused on the logistical ramifications of what you’re afraid I might be leading to I think you would realize that I have made so many clear distinctions about how Christ has become life to us. We are because HE is. The life in us is Christ, for he has become our life. We have died because HE died. We have been raised because HE was raised. He is the first, the firstborn of his church, the body. He is the forerunner, the author and finisher of our faith. Everything true about him has been made to be true about us. He is our wisdom, he is our righteousness ….

What I am worried about is that you place Jesus at the same level as mankind , in that God need only enter us and we will be like Jesus ( if I am understanding you, which I probably am not). This is the logical ramification, if Jesus was something less than God. I am not ready to put myself on His level. Every thing you write in this paragraph above I would say amen to. Out of curiosity, how else could of Mary received the other 23 chromosomes if she had not been with a man? You write; George

Do you think it’s possible that by reasoning according to this doctrine of the Trinity that you might have assumed my conclusions would become something other than what I have written about in almost everything I write? :)

No actually, I have been reading your stuff off and on for years and have learn quite a bit, it was only recently that I came into the realization of your stance on the Godhead. It was a surprise to say the least. Yet, I have been giving it a lot of thought, if it is possible to know Jesus personally and not have a clue of His divinity prior to learning of your views. It happened while listening to a missionary explaining how individuals came to an understanding of salvation without understanding the need of Christ to be God. Grace, George

Hello again, George

Thanks for sharing those things about you and your family with me. It sounds as if you have your hands full most of the time.

It reads as if you believe that God entered Jesus and became flesh.

I’m curious as to how you come to that conclusion. God joined with humanity through Mary. God’s word, his very expression, became flesh. Jesus was born as a result of God’s spirit coming upon a human woman. Jesus was born the son of God and the son of man. I may question the dogmatic statement about the half and half split in his chromosomes, but never the miraculous joining of God and man in the person of Jesus Christ. The fact is that we don’t really know anything about his chromosome makeup. We can only guess.

What I am worried about is that you place Jesus at the same level as mankind , in that God need only enter us and we will be like Jesus ( if I am understanding you, which I probably am not). This is the logical ramification, if Jesus was something less than God. I am not ready to put myself on His level.

Yes, perhaps the logical ramification. But since when does he figure according to human logic? Now, if any man is in Christ he is a new creation, true? We look at that which is on this side of death, however, the true us is something other. It is miraculous in nature, for it is found in the one who became a man and then died to be raised in newness of life. What if we have grossly underestimated this new creation in Christ? Jesus Christ is the exact representation of God in the physical world, and IN HIM we have become heirs together.

For through the law I have died to the law, that I might live to God. I have been crucified with Christ; and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the flesh, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.

Consider the ramifications of that! :)

No actually, I have been reading your stuff off and on for years and have learn quite a bit, it was only recently that I came into the realization of your stance on the Godhead. It was a surprise to say the least.

What you expressed here is what I was actually asking. You answered in the negative, but your surprise in discovering what you referred to as my stance on the Godhead seems to say yes. LOL Don’t you find it at all interesting that you needed to word that in such a doctrinal manner?

Just so you know, I really appreciate being able to dialog with you on these things. If I didn’t, I would have put it off until I caught up with the other few that have been waiting around for a few days. :)

Jim

Jim, I have been doing some thinking in regards to Jesus being with the Father prior to the incarnation as a separate person. This would fit well with Phil. 2:1-10, in that being equal with God He condescended and became man. If this interpretation is correct, Jesus is more than God in a time and place entering humanity, but Jesus (the person of) has always been. What think thou? George

What think I? Well, I think you’re still trying to understand the nature of God by comparing him to man’s concept of persons. It’s backwards. The reasoning has more to do with viewing God through our image rather than view man through God’s image.

When the Word of God became flesh this Word did not just begin. On the other hand, the miraculous joining of God’s Word (his perfect expression, that which went forth and accomplished whatever he said) and man (through a human mother) brought forth the person of Jesus. When Jesus spoke of that which was his previously it should be obvious that his remembrance of those things was not connected to the form he had taken … but of the eternal knowledge as the Word of God.

I do understand what you’re saying, for I considered it exactly that way at one time. It is not the undoing of the person of Jesus Christ I suggest, it is instead the understanding of living connection that I seek to convey. It not only tells us more about who he was previously, but who he was while on earth, and then who he is from his resurrection, ascension and THEN in his presence in us.

What thinkest thou? :)

Jim

Jim, I thinkest this; that the Scripture was written in the language of man to give us a facsimile of an understanding about God, His Son and the Holy Spirit. I guess if God would have kept us illiterate, He could of used stain glass, coloring books, and comic books as the main source, but He chose language. I realize that as humans we are never going to fully comprehend God, Jesus and The Holy Spirit this side of glory, yet for those with half a noodle (brains) we can understand some.
Anytime we formulate a understanding it becomes a position or doctrine the person believes to be true. Of course, one need only look at the history of the Church and realize adhering to a certain understanding can get you killed, which is unfortunate. Now, I happen to agree with your (doctrine) view of the Judgment Seat of Christ and your (doctrine) thoughts about Hell and trust me, in the circles I keep, these positions alone would ostracize me. I think on the position of being a new creature in Christ Jesus and through His perfect life I am seen as perfect, though you know as I, that I screw up big time in this physical life.
Now Jim, is it safe to conclude that by saying “it should be obvious that His remembrance of those things was not connected to the form He had taken but of the eternal knowledge as the Word of God”, you are referring to before the creation? The reason I ask, is that God being Spirit needed to be an a form prior to the advent of The Christ child. This is seen every time in the O.T. there was a physical appearance and God was said to be that manifestation. Many including myself, would say that these manifestations were the preincarnate Christ.
At times, when I meditate about who I am in Christ (this new creation), I feel like I am dancing on the edge of a sharp knife. Knowing that God does not share His glory with another and that there is no God, but Jehovah. I am careful how far to push what I will be in Christ, when I will have a glorified body and no longer sin. I certainly will not be Jesus (God in man) though God occupies my being also. At times, I read into your writing that whatever Jesus is I will be, may be this is taking your thought to far, and correct me if I have misunderstood. Well enough for now, thanks for hanging with me. George

Hi George!

Though God has spoken through men in the time previous he now speaks to us in his son. In saying this I am not downplaying communication through words, but it is not through words that God is truly made known. Consider:

God, after He spoke long ago to the fathers in the prophets in many portions and in many ways, in these last days has spoken to us in His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the world. And He is the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature, and upholds all things by the word of His power. When He had made purification of sins, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, Hebrews 1:1-3 NASB

And when I came to you, brethren, I did not come with superiority of speech or of wisdom, proclaiming to you the testimony of God. For I determined to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ, and Him crucified. I was with you in weakness and in fear and in much trembling, and my message and my preaching were not in persuasive words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, so that your faith would not rest on the wisdom of men, but on the power of God. Yet we do speak wisdom among those who are mature; a wisdom, however, not of this age nor of the rulers of this age, who are passing away; but we speak God’s wisdom in a mystery, the hidden wisdom which God predestined before the ages to our glory; the wisdom which none of the rulers of this age has understood; for if they had understood it they would not have crucified the Lord of glory; but just as it is written, “THINGS WHICH EYE HAS NOT SEEN AND EAR HAS NOT HEARD, AND which HAVE NOT ENTERED THE HEART OF MAN, ALL THAT GOD HAS PREPARED FOR THOSE WHO LOVE HIM.” For to us God revealed them through the Spirit; for the Spirit searches all things, even the depths of God. For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so the thoughts of God no one knows except the Spirit of God. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may know the things freely given to us by God, which things we also speak, not in words taught by human wisdom, but in those taught by the Spirit, combining spiritual thoughts with spiritual words. But a natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised. But he who is spiritual appraises all things, yet he himself is appraised by no one. For WHO HAS KNOWN THE MIND OF THE LORD, THAT HE WILL INSTRUCT HIM? But we have the mind of Christ. 1 Corinthians 2:1-16 NASB

While you and I can communicate in words our true communication surpasses those words. Our understanding is found beyond the reasoning in the words themselves. Pay close attention to the care in which Paul expressed that shared understanding as he contrasted the one with the other. It is the mind of Christ, which we have, by which we understand God. Our words testify of this miraculous understanding but those words cannot themselves bring that understanding to pass.

As humans we could never understand the things of God, and that is why you keep coming up against that blockage in your hopes of gaining the knowledge of him through word-based understanding. Dancing on the edge of that sharp knife, as you refer to, is only found as your human reasoning tries to bridge the gap. Jesus Christ, the Word of God, is that sharp knife. :)

Your concern that I am taking Christ too far only makes sense according to a natural reasoning of the things of God. As you express your concerns I can ALMOST agree that that is indeed what I am saying … but not. There’s just something behind the words that just is not expressing what I’m really saying. Consider:

I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me. Galatians 2:20 NASB

Notice the seeming contradiction regarding who “I” is. The best our human reasoning can come up with is to take a side either for Christ or for me. We something try so hard to get ourselves out of the picture or to focus on Christ. Or we try to apply the I must decrease, he must increase ultimatum by which we hope that “I” will eventually fade and Christ will then take over. But Paul doesn’t even come close to our logical applications of what he expressed.

Instead, he has declared the mystery of Christ in you, the hope of glory. There is no conflict in the reality of what God has brought about in Christ. There is no need for Biblical or spiritual programs. It is the demand of the reality of this incomprehensible UNION we have THROUGH and IN and BY Christ. While we might fear that we are infringing upon God’s nature or that we might be somehow suggesting that we are competing with God himself by agreeing with this miraculously created union. The fears are unfounded. It is only the natural mind that thinks it might compete with God.

Look again: I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.

Paul was not afraid of who he was, he did not try to get himself out of the way, because he was confident in the miraculous new life he shared together with/in Christ. He knew the connection. He learned to be confident in this mind.

Have this attitude (the same word for mind) in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Philippians 2:5-8 NASB

Why would Paul adopt that mind, that attitude in himself and then encourage others to hold to the same unless there was something true to need for it? I mean, if it was so cut and dried as to our separateness from God, then why even address something in the way he did above? Our union in Christ puts God in us, and this makes a pretty heavy-duty demand about what we really are in this world. Just like Jesus … but not apart from him or his life. For it is by and through his life that we are this foreign people on this planet.

Just remember, if you are sensing that I suggest any kind of competition with God because of the union I demand, it is only found in your own reasoning. :)

Jim

Jim, No one more then I agrees that it is only through the revelation of the Holy Spirit that we can believe in the risen Christ. Yet, is it not this very enlightenment that causes the words of Scripture to come to life? It is not the Spirit verses the Scripture, but both working in union. What concerns me is the distinction between Jesus and us. We will not have God say to us, “You are God and You will rule as King forever!” (Heb. 1:8). However, being united with Jesus through the Holy Spirit, we have privileges and actually reign with Christ, we nonetheless do not forget what we were saved from (the wrath of God and ourselves). Jesus never needed redemption, because He was the unblemished Lamb of God. Seeing that there is none perfect except God, I readily understand that Jesus is the reality of God’s perfect nature. We are only seen as perfect, through Christ’s covering, He is perfection. Thus, words are conjured up to express this idea, things like Godhead, Trinity etc. I realize words can never fully express the correct understanding for these terms, we still used them. In spite of the fact, we are a different specie then God; among our own, we communicate thoughts. By the way, my wife read your last letter and defends your ideas. I am not sure what all that means; but it is kind of scary. ps, I will reread you letters and see if am missing something. Grace, George

Hi George!

I don’t know if you are a Star Wars fan, but there is a scene where Yoda (that funky looking green midget alien with big ears) says of Luke Skywalker, “There is much fear in this one”. You cover it well by using that handle on your denominational doctrine, but it shows itself in your irrational reactions.

You keep insisting that there is some kind of possibility that my demands of our union in Christ might put us into the place of usurping his place. Don’t you realize that it is only the mind of the flesh that has any such concept? It is the spirit of this world that says, “I am greater than the Most High God!”; the Spirit of God within us never even considers anything remotely close to it. I wonder how you can overlook that I have been saying this very thing over and again? It is only your fear that reacts as if our very real union in Christ suggests some kind of usurpation.

It is the natural mind of man that has to keep reminding itself that it should not try to take God’s place. But do you know why it does this? Because it knows that there is an injunction, a command that it must not. And it is only because the mind of man truly believes that it can become an equal with God (or in place of God) that it fears being found out and judged by God for its attempt to overthrow him.

Religion merely provides a framework for the natural mind to enforce those perceptions. It finds great comfort in using the authority of God through the recorded words of his prophets. This religious logic needs to continually enforce the demand of having God’s word on whatever subject it teaches.

Now, can you hear that I am NOT calling the recorded words God gave through his prophets into question? Your reaction in thinking so is found only because of your fear. But I assure you that this fear is founded in the irrational logic of the religious natural mind. Until you realize that you have no handle on God, nor on the things of God, you are going to keep projecting your own fears upon this miraculous union we have in Christ. But I am also assured that you will come to rest in this reality, for you are drawn to it. :)

Please pass my warm greetings on to your wife! :)

Love, Jim

Jim, You seem to think that I do not already rest in Jesus, I do; I just have issues. Most of our thoughts align, and I find very little of your writings that I would question. As your last note said, I do fear misrepresenting God to others. I believe it is damaging to say something about our union or my union with Jesus and have them think I am just another New Ager. You wrote: George

It is the natural mind of man that has to keep reminding itself that it should not try to take God’s place. But do you know why it does this? Because it knows that there is an injunction, a command that it must not. And it is only because the mind of man truly believes that it can become an equal with God (or in place of God) that it fears being found out and judged by God for its attempt to overthrow him.

I am not worried about me usurping God; I am worried that my careless placed words might leave that impression on my listener. This is my first thought after reading some of your stuff on Jesus, Trinity etc. that you may leave your reader with this notion. I am not saying you claim to be God’s equal, but I as others could tend to over think the worst case scenario. George

Hi George,

I responded as I did because you seem restless with your concerns and can’t seem to get past that typical reaction of the supposed danger in taking our union with Christ too far. After all, what difference does it make that someone might say you are a New Ager … because you’re going to have a lot more false things said about you no matter how you word the miraculous reality that’s been brought about in Christ.

It’s going to be said that you teach that grace is a license to sin, that you lead others into sin, that you’re a weirdo, that you don’t believe the truth, etc. They said it about Jesus, they said it about Paul … do you think we can get around it? You’ve been set up to be misunderstood, my friend, for when you stand in freedom it’s going to be insisted that the problem must be you.

Please know that my comments about the fear I see in you has nothing to do with you not agreeing with my thoughts on the Trinity but with what I see as irrational reactions. In other words, it’s how you seem to keep hanging on to the standard, here’s what they mean when they say this sort of explanation instead of actually hearing what I said. Do you know what I mean by that?

Jim :)

A lifetime of indoctrination is not easily shed, especially if some of it seems worthwhile. I will ruminate on our dialogue and see what the Lord reveals. Don’t be surprised if I have more questions for the future. Take care, George

Hey, I hear you on that, my friend. I still find myself falling back upon a systematized sense of comfort and security. I look forward to hearing more from you as I enjoy our connection. :)

Jim


Well, this is all very interesting to me to read about even though sometimes I have a hard time following the conversation. That could be new mother exhaustion or information overload or both. One thing I am thinking as I read is that I have always believed in the teaching of God as the Trinity because that is what I have been taught since becoming a Christian years ago. I have made some attempts at trying to understand the Trinity and have just always come away feeling that it cannot be understood, that it is a mystery. I don’t understand why you say the Trinity separates us from God, more than unites? I have been taught that the Trinity is in perfect union and has no need of humanity yet because of love found a way to be with us through Jesus…is this so far from what you are saying? It all seems like a lot of words to express that God loves us and made a way for us to be together with him and maybe semantics? If you will, perhaps you can tell me exactly what is the Trinity in what is it that you are saying? How are they the same and how different? hippiechick

Hello dear hippiechick!

I was also raised to believe that God must be understood as a Trinity. It was a basic assumption, and I never questioned it. I saw it in the symbols and learned of it in the doctrines and the hymns. For according to all I learned, to understand the Trinity was the only way to understand God.

I have been taught that the Trinity is in perfect union and has no need of humanity yet because of love found a way to be with us through Jesus…is this so far from what you are saying?

At one time I would have said pretty much the same because it used to make a weird kind of sense to me. I now see such statements as total contradictions in terms. Consider, if the Trinity is in perfect union and has no need of humanity then how can the second person of the Trinity be joined to humanity? Of course, it’s a mystery. Right?

The problem comes with the wrapper, that is, the package in which men have insisted God must be understood. You asked me what exactly is the Trinity in what I’m saying, and it is this: the official agreement as to how God is to be understood. It is assumed that if you want to understand God you have to understand the Trinity … as mysterious as it is. Even your words testify to this. The Trinity is the assumed box that contains the understanding of God, so that those who pursue doctrine are the ones who understand it best.

Maybe you’re not aware of it, but there was a time in history when councils of men voted on the official teachings of God. In the Roman Church, the doctrine of the Trinity won the most votes. Those who disagreed weren’t necessarily denying the mystery of God in Christ, they simply didn’t hold to the more popular formula of understanding. However, those who disagreed were considered heretics. If another view had been more popular, people would be defending it to this day in the same fashion.

Religion holds that God is understood - as much as can be possibly understood of God, that is - through doctrine. Consider what you wrote:

I have made some attempts at trying to understand the Trinity and have just always come away feeling that it

cannot be understood, that it is a mystery

Is the understanding of the Trinity to be considered the same as the understanding of God? Were you trying to understand God … or a doctrine? Did you come to the conclusion that a doctrine was a mystery or that God was? Can we possibly understand God by understanding even a well-defined teaching? Or is it possible that we can only truly understand God through his spirit that he has given us? Do you not notice how this does not even come up when considering the Trinity?

I hope to hear back from you.

Love, Jim :)

Hello Jim, As always your responses are provocative. I will pipe in and say that just because we don’t understand how the Trinity is God does not mean that it can not be true. It is ironic that you state above: “Or is it possible that we can only truly understand God through his spirit that he has given us?”…
This is the ‘how’ of the trinity. It is simply the fundamental Relationship.
It is the main Engine of Life. The unoriginate, unending Father Who eternally generates Himself (the ’ only begotton Son’ being that generation) and the knowing of the this fact by the one who has been born from on High (the Son) re-COGNIZing (Spirit).
I was reading your beautiful writings on the writings of John and the same irony struck me. You speak of the Gnostics and their heresy of claiming special knowledge of/to God but it is Exactly what this website is about.
It is not a special knowledge that is ‘acquired’ but a special knowledge that is by grace. It is what John was speaking of in all his letters. The heresy he was on fire against was about docetism. There were some that claimed Christ did not really have a body or did not suffer pain. This was what John was trying to clear up…while affirming that there is in fact a knowledge that comes by grace, which is very much what you are proclaiming here. Thanks, Richard

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Random Shovelquote: False perceptions gone? (view all shovelquotes)

I think you’re assuming that all my false perceptions are gone. No, they keep popping up to be shot down by the overwhelming reality of the new creation in Christ. source