"Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed."

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Tri-Unity: Thought, Word, Deed

The other day I came across a website that had this to say as part of their talk on the Trinity. I had never thought of it this way, but it made sense. I have heard people say that God made our hearts to always long for something that only He can fill. Have others of you heard something similar or is that just a strange Protestant or Baptist thing? Anyway I thought I'd share this and get some feedback from my intellectual readers out there.

The teaching of the Bible concerning the Trinity might be summarized thus. God is a Tri-unity, with each Person of the Godhead equally and fully and eternally God. Each is necessary, and each is distinct, and yet all are one. The three Persons appear in a logical, causal order. The Father is the unseen, omnipresent Source of all being, revealed in and by the Son, experienced in and by the Holy Spirit. The Son proceeds from the Father, and the Spirit from the Son. With reference to God's creation, the Father is the Thought behind it, the Son is the Word calling it forth, and the Spirit is the Deed making it a reality.

We “see” God and His great salvation in the Son of God, the Lord Jesus Christ, then “experience” their reality by faith, through the indwelling presence of His Holy Spirit.

Though these relationships seem paradoxical, and to some completely impossible, they are profoundly realistic, and their truth is ingrained deep in man's nature. Thus, men have always sensed first the truth that God must be “out there,” everywhere present and the First Cause of all things, but they have corrupted this intuitive knowledge of the Father into pantheism and ultimately into naturalism.

Similarly, men have always felt the need to “see” God in terms of their own experience and understanding, but this knowledge that God must reveal Himself has been distorted into polytheism and idolatry. Men have thus continually erected “models” of God, sometimes in the form of graven images, sometimes even in the form of philosophical systems purporting to represent ultimate reality.

Finally, men have always known that they should be able to have communion with their Creator and to experience His presence “within.” But this deep intuition of the Holy Spirit has been corrupted into various forms of false mysticism and fanaticism, and even into spiritism and demonism. Thus, the truth of God's tri-unity is ingrained in man's very nature, but he has often distorted it and substituted a false god in its place.


Tell me what you think about the Thought, Word, Deed explanation. And what about the things men have always sensed, needed and known. Is this true for you and for most people that you know?


Achelois said...

I think I fully understand the Thought and the Word. I think that is because I have been taught that since childhood - God is Thought and He explained His Thought through the Word - Jesus. This is what Islam teaches. But this is all Islam teaches.

We learn that Jesus is the Word, but what does that mean? To me that means that he didn't need revelations like Moses or Muhammad (if we believe in the Torah and the Quran). It means Jesus was the revelation - whatever he said or did, he had the full authority to say or do that. This is something Islam doesn't explain even though it calls Jesus the Word of God and a Spirit from God. This is why initially some Christians (like the King Negus) accepted Muslims and Islam.

This is why I don't understand the Deed. What is the Holy Spirit?And how important is the Holy Spirit? Is the Holy Spirit the Spirit of God blown into Jesus? I understand that Jesus taught that no one can see it so it can definitely not be Muhammad like Muslims believe.

I have always needed God. Something happened when I was a child and I knew I was meant to be religious. I don't want to tell it on a public forum; perhaps I'll email you :)

Really enjoyed this post.

Suroor said...

Susanne, what do you think about this - http://www.islamic-awareness.org/Quran/Contrad/External/marytrin.html

Amber said...

I've been pondering this post, really, and I'm not sure I have anything to add. There's something...something about the Thought/Word/Deed analogy that doesn't sit right with me. Unfortunately, I haven't been able to put my finger on exactly what that is, so I can't expand on that. There's just something...off.

As for the Trinity, I think we all have to remember that it is a Mystery. We are never, this side of the veil, going to understand it. Any analogy, any thought that we have about it is, by nature, going to be inaccurate and fall short of the truth. That's not an answer that satisfies the intellect, no, and you'll get accused of ignoring the question, or be told that if you can't explain it, that shows it isn't true. But that fails as well - I can't explain, in any accurate sense, how my car works. I know that electricity is involved, gas, and a process called 'internal combustion', but I cannot explain how they all work together. I know that, so long as I put gas in the car, and keep it maintained, I should be able to get in, turn the key, and have it run. (And when that doesn't happen, I am very, very miffed.)

Does my (admittedly willful) ignorance mean that my car doesn't really exist? Or that the process of internal combustion doesn't exist? That there are really ten tiny, tiny horses running on a treadmill to keep my car going? No. And there are people, out there, who *could* explain, in great detail, how the whole thing works. They're called mechanics, and that's what we pay them for - to know how it all works, and fix it if necessary. But I digress.

So. When I talk of the Trinity, I do so with the understanding that I have a comprehension that equals seeing the reflection of the shadow of smoke.

I reiterate my favorite illustration of the Trinity: 'So, One God: the Father who begets the Word who became incarnate, Jesus Christ and who sends his Spirit, his breath, upon us in the name of His Word. Inseparably One God, mysteriously in three persons.'

I also like, from my Orthodox Study Bible, this explanation of the relationship between the three Persons, illustrated through Adam, Eve and Cain (and please forgive, this is just off the top of my head. I'm not at home to reference the Bible's notes):

Adam proceeds from nothing. He has no father, no mother. He simply exists. Eve proceeds from Adam. Cain, their son, proceeds from Adam, *through* Eve.

God the Father Exists. He is uncreated, unbegotten, from the beginning of time. God the Son proceeds from the Father, also uncreated, from the beginning of time. God the Spirit proceeds from the Father, through the Son - uncreated, from all time.

They are, a Unity. A Family. Our families, here, on earth, are but shadows of the relationship that exists within the Trinity.

And...I've probably just confused the issue. But those are the thoughts I've been having.

Susanne said...

Achelois, I love reading your comments. :)

This -- "It means Jesus was the revelation - whatever he said or did, he had the full authority to say or do that." -- is what I was going to say in response to what Jesus being the Word means.

If one read the Bible and accepted that Jesus is God, to me, being The Word would mean the "Thought" was being expressed. I can have many thoughts in my mind, but until it is revealed through word or action, it's unshared. Aafke can have a lovely picture in her mind, but until she acts and paints it, we can't enjoy the horse picture.

If we take this imperfect analogy and say God is Thought then His revealing His Word is God sharing Himself with us. (What a gift to make His thoughts known to humankind!) And, of course, I believe He did this through Jesus and is why Jesus told Philip in John 14, "If you have seen me, you have seen the Father." Also remember the prophet Isaiah talked about Emmanuel and then when Matthew wrote his book for his Jewish people, he hearkened back hundreds of years to Isaiah's words and said *Jesus* was Emmanuel ("God with us."). Also note how often Jesus says He does nothing of himself, but does what the Father wants Him to do. (If Word = Thought expressed this makes some sense to me.)

"I have always needed God. Something happened when I was a child and I knew I was meant to be religious. I don't want to tell it on a public forum; perhaps I'll email you :)"

If you ever want to share privately, I'd love to hear it. :)

I read that link and it made me understand better why Muslims believe Mary is part of the Trinity especially at the time of Muhammad. Thank you for sharing things like this with me.

I'm not ignoring your question about the Holy Spirit. I think I will write a post about what He means to me and then you all can question and add to it if you want. That's a great question and I see why it is puzzling for you.

Amber, I appreciate you chiming in on this topic. :) I know you read a lot and have a great mind so I truly mean it when I say I learn a lot from you. That's one reason I posted this Thought,Word,Deed thing. I wanted to run it by you because you are good at picking out flaws and "aha!" points that I miss.

I totally forgot the whole Mystery thing although I do always tell myself it's simply NOT something I'm ever going to fully understand or be able to explain. I appreciate the reminder. And I totally agree about the car and how it runs. I think about stuff like that - like how does a camera capture a still picture or even video things. I know people out there know it, but it boggles my mind when I think of such technological things and how they work. Thank you for the illustrations of Adam, Eve and Cain and the other one you shared. I appreciate that a bunch!