Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Trinity's End

I had never subscribed to the Trinity as a Doctrine. I was willing to accept the Trinity as a man-made concept; a man-made explanation to attempt to explain, or define, the nature of God. It is a useful tool to help a finite mind grasp an infinite entity and concept, but is, at its core, flawed.

The closest I've come to understanding the Triune nature of God (or more specifically, Jesus, or "God the Son") was as follows:

I cannot say with certainty whether I believe in Jesus as being truly eternal. It is a difficult issue. To me it is a paradox. I know the Father is eternal: having no beginning and no end. He is omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent. I believe He became incarnate in flesh and bone in Jesus, and in that state was a temporal being (bound by the laws of physics and time). Yet He was both perfect Man and perfect God. In essence the Father “stepped into the time-stream”, exiting his state of infiniteness. But on the same note, even if you remove a small piece of an infinitely large being, you are not left with fractions. You are still left with infinite sums. (And similarly, the fraction 'broken' off must in itself remain infinite). Yet the very nature of an eternal being is not bound by the constraints of time. If it ever existed then it always existed.
However, in John Hick's "The Metaphor of God Incarnate" makes an incredibly good point on pg 52 & 53:

"[Jesus]... became conscious of being in a state of mutual I-Thou awareness with the second person of the Trinity. In these moments he was conscious of being in the presence of God the Son and at the same time aware that God the Son was conscious of him. Such a picture would seem to fit the New Testament indications – except of course that the encompassing divine presence of which Jesus was so vividly aware was not the second person of a trinity but simply God, known as abba, father.

[A] possible way of spelling out a limited access of the human to the divine mind is in terms not of occasional consciousness-consciousness interaction but of occasional consciousness-consciousness unity. That is to say, from time to time and perhaps with varying degrees of clarity, the human mind of Jesus became conscious of its identity with the divine mind of God the Son. In these moments Jesus was consciously divine, aware that he was God the Son incarnate. This is consonant with the picture of Jesus offered in the fourth Gospel - except that there Jesus is depicted as believing that the divine presence with whom he was in unity with was God the Father: 'I and the Father are one' (John 10:30), 'he that hath seen me hath seen the Father' (John 14:9)."

What I had understood, or accepted, as the "left-behind", ever-present and eternal part of God, was the Father. Hick clearly makes the point that this belief necessitates this 'piece' as not being God the Father, but must only be God the Son. ... and he's right.

I can no longer accept what I had understood the Trinity - and for that matter, the Triune nature of God - to be. I know many will say or think that I have been unduly influenced by this singular book. However, that would be a wrong assumption. These are thoughts that have been on my mind, in one form or another, for more than 8 years now.

Now combine that with the impossibility of all "two-natured" theses and all "kenosis" theses (all these theses fail or end in heresy), I can no longer accept the concept of the Trinity.

How does one successfully explain, understand, and accept a literal "perfect God and perfect man" without resorting to some loose and undefined mystery? I know the cookie-cutter answer many would offer me: faith. But, again, I am forced to agree with Hick. This formula "is a humanly devised hypothesis; and we cannot save a defective hypothesis by dubbing it a divine mystery."
I am forced to conclude, "...the Christian doctrine of incarnation... has not been found to have any acceptable meaning."

The implications are also far reaching. It confirms something I have always suspected (which I wrote about in Three Syntheses): The bible (the writings of Moses and the epistles of Paul make the greatest examples: see Mat. 19:8 re. Moses, and 1 Corinth. 7:10 vs. 1 Corinth. 7:12 re. Paul) are a mixture of divine inspiration (or 'laws') as well as man-made ideas, theologies, philosophy and 'laws'.


1 comment:

Incognitough said...

The Doctrine of the Trinity is hard to believe, everyone admits that. I wonder why religious leaders say it is so important. Probably because they see themselves as having successfully connected the dots in such a way that believers will only have to believe one impossible truth to get the rest "right".