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A Trinity of Trinities

Discussion in 'General Theology' started by Gerry Rzeppa, Jul 18, 2015.

  1. Gerry Rzeppa

    Gerry Rzeppa New Member

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    Hello, all!

    I woke up this morning thinking about some ideas I've had regarding the Trinity and thought I should post them somewhere. Like here! Forgive me if you've heard this before.

    Some time ago I came across a diagram that was drawn in the Middle Ages that looked something like this (plus a few flourishes that are missing from mine):

    god.jpg
    I showed it to some acquaintances who claim to be atheists. (I say "claim" since I'm convinced it's much harder -- if not impossible -- to be a true atheist than most people think; after all, even devils, who've seen things we haven't, believe and tremble). Anyway, my atheist buddies -- especially the mathematically-minded among them -- thought this diagram utter nonsense. "How can two things be the same as a third and not be the same as each other?" they replied. So I showed them a second diagram:
    time.jpg
    And a third:
    space.jpg
    And yet another:
    matter.jpg
    And though they weren't immediately sold on the idea, I'm thinking maybe some seeds were planted for later. One sows, another reaps...

    In any case, I've always found these diagrams helpful, especially when combined with just one more:
    reality.jpg
    Time, space, and matter, each a trinity, and all three together a trinity -- a trinity none of us can escape (at least not while we're in the body). Three things, as the Apostle Paul might put it, in which "we live, and move, and have our being." Which brings us back to the first drawing. I hope you find them helpful, too.

    And that's all I have to say about that. At least for now!
     
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  2. MarkRohfrietsch

    MarkRohfrietsch Unapologetic Apologist Supporter

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    This is on topic, and full of fun and a lot of truth; enjoy:

     
  3. Gerry Rzeppa

    Gerry Rzeppa New Member

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    That is a great video, Mark. And since I'm half Scotch-Irish myself (me middle name is McIntyre) I appreciated it even more. I think it should be noted that the difference between the analogies I proposed and those in the video are two:

    1. Time, space, and matter are fundamental and inescapable constituents of the whole universe as we perceive it, not mere entities within that universe (like the sun or a three-leaf clover). "In the beginning [time], God created the heavens [space] and the earth [matter]". Seems to me only a triune God could and would create such a triune Reality.

    2. Each of the outer circles in my drawings can be interchanged with the other two in each drawing. Any present point in time, for example, was a future point in the past and will be a past point in the future; in other words, all time is past [or present or future] time (from a particular point of view). You can't do that with the leaves of a clover. Ditto for length, width, and depth: they can be interchanged simply by rotating the axes. And everyone knows the solid, liquid, and gaseous forms of matter can be interchanged without altering the substance.

    The reason I like these particular analogies so much (besides the two unique characteristics described above) is that they suggest that just as the central subject of each diagram -- time, space, or matter -- cannot be understood (or even reasonably talked about) without considering the different circles around the outside of the diagrams, so God cannot be understood without considering the Persons of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. We all intuitively "know" what time is, for example, but we can't really define it; yet we can talk about it if we allow the words "past" and "present" and "future" into the discussion. It's the same with God: we all intuitively "know" who He is, though precise definition escapes us; but we can say a great deal about Him if we allow the names of the three Persons in the discussion (for example, God the Father elects, God the Son redeems, and God the Holy Spirit regenerates and sanctifies, etc).
     
  4. MarkRohfrietsch

    MarkRohfrietsch Unapologetic Apologist Supporter

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    I think the video get's us thinking about how people may interpret our analogies.

    Your matter one is deceptive in that it's no worse and no better than "Patrick's" water: liquid/solid/gas. Not three matters (persons) only one matter in different forms. The trinity is not one God in three different manifestations, but three distinct persons.

    I'm a draftsman, and length/width/and height are dependent on orientation; depending on which orientation, length, can be width, can be height, can be depth. Orientation is dependent on our orientation.

    "Bad analogy Patrick"^_^:sorry:

    The reality one seems to be much better,:idea:
    but truth is that reality is dependent on one's perception.:scratch:

    The Athanasian Creed does as good a job as any, but it is still a human attempt to describe a divine mystery; one that I certainly can not fully comprehend.
     
  5. Gerry Rzeppa

    Gerry Rzeppa New Member

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    I offer these analogies in this spirit: If they help -- if they provide new or deeper insights into things that are ultimately inscrutable -- great. If they don't, dump 'em.

    I personally find them helpful because they connect (in my mind) with Genesis 1:1 ("In the beginning [time], God created the heavens [space] and the earth [matter]" and Acts 17:28 ("For in Him we live [time] and move [space] and have our being [matter].") As I said before, it seems to me that only a triune God could and would create such a place -- and would make it literally impossible for us to conceive of anything fundamentally different. Try it: attempt to describe an imaginary world without this "trinity of trinities" -- time (past, present, future), space (length, width, depth), and matter (solid, liquid, gas) -- creeping into the description. I don't think it can be done.

    Maybe the photo that goes with the "caption text" we find in the creed is all around and in us. In living color! But so big and so close that we typically miss it.
     
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