Sunday, April 06, 2008

Trinity: One God in Three Beings

Bruce Nielson at "mormon matters" writes a great article saying that LDS shouldn't necessarily shun the use of the word Trinity. Although, so-called Orthodox Christians associate the term with creeds which discribe God as being without body, parts, and passions; Neilson argues that the Trinitarian view of God is a lot closer to the LDS doctrine on the Godhead relative to other beliefs about the nature of God. I admit, I have been critical of the use of the non-biblical word Trinity in past posts.

Commentors to the post ascribed the difference between the doctrine on the Orthodox Trinity and the Godhead to the doctrine of "ex-nihlo" creation. I agree that the doctrine on God is tied to the concept of creation and infinity and understanding who is Christ (What think ye of Christ). Because understanding who Christ is reveals to us the nature of God, the nature of man, and our relationship to God. LDS Doctrine on God is not modalism (one God in three forms) or Arian (Jesus is not God). Our doctrine is that Jesus Christ is seperate from, yet one with and equal to God the Father (one God in three persons). I like Nielson's use of the term “social Trinitarianism.”

I see the doctrinal divergence coming down to the words of Isaiah. Isaiah says, "before me was no God formed, neither shall there be after me" (Isaiah 43:10). Many use this verse to infer that there can only be one being in the universe rightly considered God or god. However, LDS doctrine doesn’t conflict with Isaiah at all when one realizes that God and gods are not created by definition. Jesus Christ was God, co-existent, and co-eternal with the Father from eternity to eternity. What the scriptures refer to as intelligences, or the spirits of men were not created either, but have always existed. Men were created spiritual sons of God, and Christ was created the Only Begotten Son according to the flesh, but Christ has always been God and we have always been gods and co-existent with the Father from even before the beginning (ye are gods).

The Bible doesnt differentiate man and God based on His Godhood but based on his Eternal Fatherhood. Men were created sons, but we have always been gods. And through the grace of Christ, God would make us fathers like unto himself. If the opposite of eternal is created and if created things cannot become eternal, than any man who is created a son of God, could never become eternal and inherit eternal life. The key is understanding that the spirits of men have existed forever and were always considered gods.

1 comment:

Samuel Maynes said...

If you are interested in some new ideas on the Trinity as a framework for looking at religions, please check out my website at www.relgiouspluralism.ca. It previews my book, which has not been published yet and is still a “work-in-progress.” Your constructive criticism would be very much appreciated.

My thesis is that an abstract version of the Trinity could be Christianity’s answer to the world need for a framework of pluralistic theology.

In a constructive worldview: east, west, and far-east religions present a threefold understanding of One God manifest primarily in Muslim and Hebrew intuition of the Deity Absolute, Christian and Krishnan Hindu conception of the Universe Absolute Supreme Being; and Shaivite Hindu, Buddhist, Taoist apprehension of the Destroyer (meaning also Consummator), Unconditioned Absolute, or Spirit of All That Is and is not. Together with their variations and combinations in other major religions, these religious ideas reflect and express our collective understanding of God, in an expanded concept of the Holy Trinity.

The Trinity Absolute is portrayed in the logic of world religions, as follows:

1. Muslims and Jews may be said to worship only the first person of the Trinity, i.e. the existential Deity Absolute Creator, known as Allah or Yhwh, Abba or Father (as Jesus called him), Brahma, and other names; represented by Gabriel (Executive Archangel), Muhammad and Moses (mighty messenger prophets), and others.

2. Christians and Krishnan Hindus may be said to worship the first person through a second person, i.e. the experiential Universe or "Universal” Absolute Supreme Being (Allsoul or Supersoul), called Son/Christ or Vishnu/Krishna; represented by Michael (Supreme Archangel), Jesus (teacher and savior of souls), and others. The Allsoul is that gestalt of personal human consciousness, which we expect will be the "body of Christ" (Mahdi, Messiah, Kalki or Maitreya) in the second coming – personified in history by Muhammad, Jesus Christ, Buddha (9th incarnation of Vishnu), and others.

3. Shaivite Hindus, Buddhists, and Confucian-Taoists seem to venerate the synthesis of the first and second persons in a third person or appearance, ie. the Destiny Consummator of ultimate reality – unqualified Nirvana consciousness – associative Tao of All That Is – the absonite* Unconditioned Absolute Spirit “Synthesis of Source and Synthesis,”** who/which is logically expected to be Allah/Abba/Brahma glorified in and by union with the Supreme Being – represented in religions by Gabriel, Michael, and other Archangels, Mahadevas, Spiritpersons, etc., who may be included within the mysterious Holy Ghost.

Other strains of religion seem to be psychological variations on the third person, or possibly combinations and permutations of the members of the Trinity – all just different personality perspectives on the Same God. Taken together, the world’s major religions give us at least two insights into the first person of this thrice-personal One God, two perceptions of the second person, and at least three glimpses of the third.

* The ever-mysterious Holy Ghost or Unconditioned Spirit is neither absolutely infinite, nor absolutely finite, but absonite; meaning neither existential nor experiential, but their ultimate consummation; neither fully ideal nor totally real, but a middle path and grand synthesis of the superconscious and the conscious, in consciousness of the unconscious.

** This conception is so strong because somewhat as the Absonite Spirit is a synthesis of the spirit of the Absolute and the spirit of the Supreme, so it would seem that the evolving Supreme Being may himself also be a synthesis or “gestalt” of humanity with itself, in an Almighty Universe Allperson or Supersoul. Thus ultimately, the Absonite is their Unconditioned Absolute Coordinate Identity – the Spirit Synthesis of Source and Synthesis – the metaphysical Destiny Consummator of All That Is.

For more details, please see: www.religiouspluralism.ca

Samuel Stuart Maynes