Bloggin' the 28: Applying Trinity to human relationships

By Johnny Ramirez-Johnson

There is one God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, a unity of three co-eternal Persons. God is immortal, all-powerful, all-knowing, above all, and ever present. He is infinite and beyond human comprehension, yet known through His self-revelation. He is forever worthy of worship, adoration, and service by the whole creation. (Deut. 6:4; Matt. 28:19; 2 Cor. 13:14; Eph. 4:4-6; 1 Peter 1:2; 1 Tim. 1:17; Rev. 14:7.) (Fundamental Beliefs of Seventh-day Adventists, Belief No. 2, The TrinityIntroduction

The “Statue of the Three Lies”

Have you ever drawn God? If you were assigned the task of doing so where will you go for inspiration? At Harvard University yard, where the oldest buildings remain, in front of the old water pump, there is a statue that we Harvardites call, “the statue of the three lies.” You see the statue is supposed to be a representation of young John Harvard, but it is not. That is the first lie, the story says that Mr. Daniel Chester French, a sculptor was contracted by the university administration to produce a statue of the greatest benefactor they ever had.

In fact Rev. John Harvard, an Englishman, was the first person to endow the university with half of his estate (£779) his large library (400 volumes of which only one survives today) all for the purpose of training ministers. In return the university was named after him and a bigger that life statue was to be erected. But when Mr. French, the sculptor, arrived there was no painting or any other drawing of John Harvard. They expected him to do a statue of a dead man with nothing to go by. The solution was to use a student as a model. As a result of this unique assignment “the Statue of the Three Lies” was erected. The nature of the other two lies will not be covered in this presentation, you will have to visit Harvard’s yard and take a tour with a Harvardite.

No Human Has Ever Seen GodWhen I selected the assignment to write about the Trinity I felt like Mr. French, the sculptor, I asked myself where can I find an image of the Godhead? Where can I get inspiration to draw with words an accurate description of God? You see there are no pictures, paintings, diagrams, or even internet sites to visit where I can find a reliable photo album of the Godhead family, the Trinity. Therefore I decided to search the Bible. John the beloved apostle who had the privilege to lay his head on the body of Jesus the carpenter from Nazareth and who recognized Jesus as the eternal “logos” makes it plain and clear. 1 John 4:12 “No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.” No human has ever seen the Trinity.The Example of MosesOnce Moses asked God to show him what could not be revealed, the words spoken are self-explanatory. Exodus 33:18-20 “Then Moses said, ‘Now show me your glory.’ And the LORD said, ‘I will cause all my goodness to pass in front of you, and I will proclaim my name, the LORD, in your presence. I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion. But,’ he said, ‘you cannot see my face, for no one may see me and live.’”Describing God’s Back and GoodnessOn this presentation I will examine methodically some of the biblical attempts to describe who the Trinity is and what does this doctrine or belief has to do with our daily experiences. In doing so I will avoid the task that was clearly declared as impossible when Moses requested seen God. I will not seek to describe God’s face, I will limit myself to God’s back and God’s goodness (Exodus 33:18-23). Like Mr. French, if we try to describe how God looks like we will create a false image, another statue of three lies. We are wise to deal with God’s back and goodness, there is plenty to see from God’s backside!Brief History of the Doctrine of the TrinitySince the term Trinity has theological rather than biblical origins I cannot quote a biblical text to discuss its origins. It is in the history of the Christian church that we find its roots. It is in the context of Christian apologetics that we find its inception. Only because some perceived attack was received were the early Fathers of the church interested in defining many of the Christian doctrines, including the Trinity. The Early Fathers of the church had a lot to say about this topic. The church Patriarchs had lots of doctrinal and political struggles of which they left behind numerous written witnesses.Theophilus of Antioch circa 180 ADImitating Luke (see Luke 1:3) Theophilus of Antioch wrote three books to proclaim the risen Savior to his friend Autolycus. The first book deals with God, the second with a Christian interpretation of the Old Testament, and the third book with the superiority of the Christian faith. In his first book we have the first mention of the doctrine of the Trinity (Gonzalez, 1970:117). In describing what he called the Trinity Theophilus took a leap beyond the biblical data and introduced a theological term that from then on defined the Christian God. It was not without many conflicts that this theological view of God was accepted and defined by the Christian community.Cyril of Alexandria circa 430 ADThe “Seal of the Fathers”, Cyril of Alexandria who died about 444 AD has been credited as “the one who finally fixed the true doctrine of the Trinity” (Krüger, 1977:333). Cyril was instrumental in dealing with Nestorius who rejected the “bearer of God” title applied to Mary, the mother of Jesus. In opposing the title given to Mary, Nestorius of Antioch set himself up against more powerful Patriarchs, Cyril of Alexandria whose parish had a significant amount of financial resources and political influence (more than often these two go together) and Rome. Cyril took it upon himself to destroy Nestorius and so he did. Forcing him to sign a most humiliating document, it was in this letter and the appendix of “Heretical Statements” that we find the declarations defining the doctrine of the Trinity.Unitarianism and PatripassianismNestorius was neither the first nor the most significant opponent of the prevalent Christian doctrine of the Trinity. Many others opposed various aspects of the doctrine, most significantly the divinity of Jesus and the nature of the Holy Spirit. There are many ways of classifying all these controversies. I will limit myself to mentioning two classifications of the Trinity that depart from the prevalent Christian view: Unitarianism and Patripassianism. Unitarianism declares the complete union of the Godhead rejecting the notion that there are three “persons” in the Godhead. Tertulian first used the notion of “persona” to describe the Trinity circa 175 AD. The Unitarian doctrine views the Holy Spirit as an attribute of the Father and views the Son as a created being (see McClintock & Strong, 1970:551-556).Patripassianism declares that the Father suffered and was given in sacrifice alongside with Jesus (the term literally means ‘the passion of the Father’). Patripassianism as well as Unitarianism and all the other views on the Trinity are based on some passages from the Bible. A detailed discussion of these goes beyond the scope of this paper. The main points to ponder are summarized in three questions: Is God an immutable, far away, all knowing, and all encompassing, far from human frailty God? Is the Trinity a mutable one, each member having a unique opinion and each member learning from each other? Is the Trinity in “need” of companionship and enjoys the pleasures of intimacy with humans and between themselves?Seven years away from the of the start of the third millennia and many debates, church councils, political maneuvering, and Bible studies after Theophilus and Cyril wrote their theologies I have the task of explaining in a Christ center way the implications of the doctrine of the Trinity today.DisclaimerWe All Speak From Our Vantage PointsAs expressed by our own Adventist Southern Californian theologian Richard Rice, although “theology seeks to express the faith of a religious community, rather than someone’s private opinions, it inevitably reflects the viewpoint of its author” (1985:xvii). Following Rice, I do not view this perspective as a weakness but as strength, how else can we learn about the unseen God if not by the reflections of humans like you and me? This analysis is a personal reflection on the meaning of the doctrine of the Trinity from the perspective of the human need for relationships.I must say a word or two about who I am. I am a male, middle class mestizo who lives in Colton, California. I am a Harvard educated ordained minister of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. I have lived among very orthodox people who view the Bible as having an answer to every specific question. And I have also lived among those who view the Bible as a book to be interpreted in light of today’s realities. I can feel equally comfortable among both groups. It will be from this perspective that I will talk to you. Like Theophilus, Cyril, and all writers on this internet Campmeeting series who wrote before me and all those who will write after me, we can only reflect and think within the framework of our experience, one perspective at a time.We Need Each OtherThe first point that I wish to make in regards the doctrine in consideration is the fact that our God is a Trinitarian one. Before we make up our minds in regards to what is true we ought to listen to at least three perspectives from three different people, like the Godhead we all can benefit from diversity of perspectives. Diversity of opinions begins with God. I will latter explain myself.Ellen G. White Advises SilenceEllen G. White declares that silence is golden when trying to define who the Holy Spirit is, she says.

It is not essential for us to be able to define just what the Holy Spirit is. Christ tells us that the Spirit is the Comforter, “the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father.” It is plainly declared regarding the Holy Spirit that, in His work of guiding men into all truth, “He shall not speak of Himself.” John 15:26; 16:13. The nature of the Holy Spirit is a mystery. Men cannot explain it, because the Lord has not revealed it to them. Men having fanciful views may bring together passages of scripture and put a human construction on them, but the acceptance of these views will not strengthen the church. Regarding such mysteries, which are too deep for human understanding, silence is golden (White, 1911:51-52).

Her advice is to study the nature of the work of the Holy Spirit. In this paper I will concentrate on the nature of the relationship of the Trinity with us and what can we learn to help us understand God’s character and love for us humans. Instead of building a statue of the Trinity or the so-called logical attributes thereof, I wish to describe the goodness of God (see Exodus 33:18-20) as it relates to us. I will describe God’s backside--which has been revealed, not God’s face--which has not been seen.Biblical AccountsGenesis 1 and 2Genesis 1:26-27 no uncertain ways that there is an authoritative, legitimate, image of the Trinity on earth. “Then God said, ‘Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.’ So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.” Genesis 1:26-27 was mentioned by all the theologians I read (about twenty), they all discussed it from the standpoint that it declares a plurality in God, therefore the doctrine of the Trinity can be documented with this and many other texts. This is completely and absolutely true. The God of Genesis is plural, the Creator of Genesis consulted in a heavenly council before creating our first parents.I have no idea of what when on in their dialogue, what I know for certain is that they came up with a design. This design is a reflection of God, the image of God. As presented by our prophetess Ellen G. there is no question about the fact that we humans, male and female, reflect God.

There is no ground for the supposition that man was evolved by slow degrees of development from the lower forms of animal or vegetable life. . . . Man was to bear God’s image, both in outward resemblance and in character. Christ alone is ‘the express image’ (Hebrews 1:3) of the Father; but man was formed in the likeness of God. His nature was in harmony with the will of God” (White, 1958:45).

Therefore if we look at the best human traits, both in our physical “outward appearance” and psychological ways, “character,” we will find the only authorized image of the Trinity. To accomplish this task we will examine the passage in question with the question: What can we learn about the Trinity from the story of the creation of humans?Diversity Within The TrinityThe first lesson that we must learn from Genesis 1:26-27 has to do with diversity, “male and female he created them” is what the Bible says. It was not one of them who bore the image of God it is both. When we examine the female body and compare it to the male one we can only wonder what kind of a dialogue the Trinity had when creating humans. ‘Man will have this and that organs in this and that shape, woman will have this and that features shaped in these unique ways.’

From the biblical record we cannot ascertain whose hands got dirty with mud in the process of creating Adam, what we do know is that humans were created with a hands-on method rather than a voice-command method. Many parts of the creation account declare that God ‘spoke’ things into creation. For humans the method was hands-on, the “LORD God formed” man and woman into creation.

It is beyond the scope of this paper to determine the nature of God’s gender qualities, though the Bible refers to God mostly with male metaphors, female ones are also used (see Rosado, 1990). It is assume by the author that God indeed has both male and female attributes; though God is neither male nor female per se. Since both males and females carry the image of God; in whatever way(s) they carry God’s image, then God is like them in those same ways (see White, 1958:45--“Man [humanity] was to bear God’s image, both in outward resemblance and in character”).Appreciation Of Gender Differences (Diversity)

Genesis 2:7 and 2:21-22 explain the creation of the first man and woman. The story unfolds in steps. First man is created, then all animals are brought to him, then his need for companionship is declared. Lastly the woman is created from one of man’s rib and is brought to him. Equality is declared and companionship established.

Genesis 2:7 “the LORD God formed the man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.” Genesis 2:21-22 “So the LORD God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep; and while he was sleeping, he took one of the man's ribs and closed up the place with flesh. Then the LORD God made a woman from the rib he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man.”

The Hebrew word used in Genesis 2:7 “formed” is also used to describe the action of a potter shaping or forming a clay vessel into existence. God’s hands got as dirty as any potter’s hands when working with clay! What implications does the fact that both men and women represent the image of God have on the doctrine of the Trinity? Historically women have not been led to believe that they carry in their bodies as much the image of God as men do. That is why the Mexican poet Amado Nervo exhorts the female readers of his poem to esteem their bodies. Taking the risk of insulting both the individual capable of reading Amado Nervo in Spanish and those who cannot do so, I will translate a portion of his literary work entitled “Tu Cuerpo” [Your Body] dedicated to the Mexican women.

Why would you despise your body? It is, in the first place, the marvellous temple of a hidden god. It is, at the same time, a work of art by the eternal Artisan. Study it from all vantage points. Look at its harmonious exterior; analyze its anatomy; enter deeply into the tortuous mystery of its cells; all in it is beauty, is strength, is grace, is an enigma. God personally modeled its shape (Nervo, 1988:171).

As every female reader examines her body in front of a mirror, as every female reader learns about the marvelous physiology of her beautifully designed body, she learns about God! All female readers are designed in outward appearance in the likeness of God! This Trinitarian statement has tremendous implications for the psychological and social well being of females and males. Although we cannot answer the question if there are differences, similar to the male and female differences, in the outward appearance of the three persons of the Trinity, we do know that the Trinity choose to create us in two likeness, male and female.

Both male and female carry God’s image and we do well in affirming the goodness of this heavenly designed diversity. Just like the male and female bodies differ in “outward appearance” and physiology, also the Trinitarian nature must reflect a like diversity. The expression of diversity in the creation of man and woman does not end with the physical realities.Diversity Of ReasoningWho will question the well-documented fact that women and men think in different ways? One way of understanding these different ways of thinking has to do with moral reasoning. Carol Gilligan and her colleagues have clearly documented two distinct ways of reasoning that males and females exhibit.

By listening to girls and women resolve serious moral dilemmas in their lives, Gilligan has traced the development of a morality organized around notions of responsibility and care. This conception of morality contrasts sharply with the morality of rights described by Piaget (1965) and Kohlberg (1981, 1984), which is based on the study of the evolution of moral reasoning in boys and men. People operating within a rights morality–more commonly men–evoke the metaphor of “blind justice” and rely on abstract laws and universal principles to adjudicate disputes and conflicts between conflicting claims impersonally, impartially, and fairly. Those operating within a morality of responsibility and care–primarily women–reject the strategy of blindness and impartiality. Instead, they argue for an understanding of the context for moral choice, claiming that the needs of individuals cannot always be deduced from general rules and principles and that moral choice must also be determined inductively from the particular experiences each participant brings to the situation (Belenky, Clinchy, Goldberger, & Tarule, 1986:8).

This observable diversity of moral reasoning between males and females enriches our understanding of God. I propose to you that God’s moral reasoning exhibit both patterns of logic. You can not help but to realize that the laws and regulations of the Hebrew Scriptures seem sometimes to be contradicted by the actions of God as presented in the stories of the ways God dealt with humans in those days. A couple of examples, from the many that can be presented, include the stories of Rahab and Ruth. The regulations and laws given by God had specific instructions of whom to exclude from the family of Israel. Prostitutes, Moabites (up to their tenth generation) as well as inhabitants from Jericho were all to be excluded. Prostitutes and people from Jericho were to be killed on the spot, you may read these exclusions in Deuteronomy 23:3-4, 17-18 and Joshua 6:17-19, but the actual treatment received by a prostitute from Jericho and a Moabite widow directly contradict the laws and regulations, you may read Joshua 6:17-19; Ruth 4:1-10; Matthew 1:5; Hebrews 11:31; and James 2:25.

In order to learn about God’s character we need to examine the stories that deal with the morality of contextualized relationships. If we only look at the laws and the morality of retribution we will, must definitely, miss the true picture of God. Just like between male and female characters there are varied ways of approaching moral reasoning, it seems God’s reasoning follows suit.

Unity in the Trinity

Just as true that there is diversity both psychologically and physically between men and women it is also true that there is a lot of unity between them. The Bible declares that our first parents became one, Genesis 2:23-24. “The man said, ‘This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called woman, for she was taken out of man.’ For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh.” The Trinity is also “one flesh.” Theologians have expressed this in so many words. The Bible expresses it with the image of marriage. It is only in the context of unity between a man and a woman in marriage that we can begin to understand the concept of the Trinity. In the logic of God as expressed in Genesis, since man and woman were created from the same essence they ought to become one in marriage. The act of getting married is described in its biological level of sexual relations. But the implications are far from only biological.

The social implications of getting married are described in clear terms, man and woman need to separate from their parents in order to become one. The exclusive type of relationship that needs to exist within a married couple describes the character of God. God does not welcome sharing us with other gods. In fact, we are told that God is jealous, God is keeping a careful score of all our relationship and what place we give to our relationship with Him/Her. Exodus 20:3, 5 “You shall have no other gods before me. . . for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God” (the same idea is expressed in Exodus 34:14; Deuteronomy 4:24; 5:9; 6:15; Joshua 24:19). The plural God of Genesis exist in a oneness only understood in the relationship of a man and a woman in love.

Need Of Companionship

The relationship of man and woman is not only outside of love, it comes out of a basic human need. The only time during the creation story that God declared that the creation act was not good was when Adam was alone. Adam’s creation was declared incomplete without a suitable, equal companion. Humans were created in a social context out of which we are incomplete.

The LORD God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.” Now the LORD God had formed out of the ground all the beasts of the field and all the birds of the air. He brought them to the man to see what he would name them; and whatever the man called each living creature, that was its name. So the man gave names to all the livestock, the birds of the air and all the beasts of the field. But for Adam no suitable helper was found. (Genesis 2:18-20)

Is it that God needs companionship in order to be complete? Based on what we learn from God’s image on earth and what the Bible says about God’s relationships with us, I believe God needs our companionship in order to be complete.The Needs Of GodIsaiah 43

This beautiful poem describes the inner feelings, desires, and logic of God (presented in the context of Israel and their present truth). As we read it together let us try to understand God’s reasoning. The God of these passages has an earnest desire for a close relationship with the people of Israel. Twice it is declared that humans were created and redeemed for God’s personal purposes (Isaiah 43:7, 25). The God of Isaiah 43 declares that the people of Israel were brought into existence for the sole purpose of proclaiming God’s name to all. Isaiah 43:10 “You are my witnesses,” declares the LORD, “and my servant whom I have chosen, so that you may know and believe me and understand that I am he. Before me no god was formed, nor will there be one after me.” Isaiah 43:20-21 “The wild animals honor me, the jackals and the owls, because I provide water in the desert and streams in the wasteland, to give drink to my people, my chosen, the people I formed for myself that they may proclaim my praise.”

The Trinitarian God has the desire for praise and companionship. God’s love is expressed through the creative power. And the creation acts are a definition of God’s being, were God is there is life and relationships. “Every manifestation of creative power is an expression of infinite love. The sovereignty of God involves fullness of blessings to all created beings” (White, 1958:33). Praise to God is the act of sharing with God our lives and giving to God the center of our existence.

The message of Isaiah 43 involves God’s demand for a trial. In this trial God invites all creatures to explain why (43:9) they have separated from God’s presence. God’s witnesses are the wild animals, they have always honor God. But Israel has separated herself from God and God is calling her into judgment. But the purpose is to save her, to redeem her, because God needs her.

God Needs Israel Like A New Groom Needs His Bride

It is not far fetched to say that God needs us in the same fashion that two loved ones need each other. We are not talking about a need for survival, we are talking about a need for pleasure and enjoyment of what is good and beautiful. Our nervous terminals and central nervous system are an image of God’s own sensory system. God is capable of joy and pleasure as much as we are capable of joy and pleasure. In fact the greatest joy and pleasure comes from sharing ourselves with our loved ones.

In the context of a sacred bond and total commitment and trust, the newly weds are to give themselves to each other often for the first time. This giving themselves to each other is a “need” in the sense that it is the greatest usage of our capability to share and give ourselves to others. It is not that marriage is the only way of sharing; on the contrary, there are one thousand and one other ways of sharing ourselves. It is not that those who are single cannot give themselves in totality. It is that in the context of the marital sexual union the potentials for sharing soul and body are best exemplified.

Separation Is The Greatest PainThere is plenty of biblical data about how a married couple is supposed to share themselves with one another. We already reviewed the lessons learned from Genesis 2, a married couple needs to divorce themselves from their previously most cherished relationships and devout themselves to each other exclusively. The element of exclusivity cannot be overemphasized (Exodus 20:14, 17). Separation is the greatest enemy of a couple in love--Song of Solomon 5:6-8:

I opened for my lover, but my lover had left; he was gone. My heart sank at his departure. I looked for him but did not find him. I called him but he did not answer. The watchmen found me as they made their rounds in the city. They beat me, they bruised me; they took away my cloak, those watchmen of the walls! O daughters of Jerusalem, I charge you-- if you find my lover, what will you tell him? Tell him I am faint with love.

Separation is most painful when it is caused by abandonment of one spouse in favor of a third person. Just like this type of separation is the most painful, the greatest joy in marriage comes from a total commitment to one another.

Sharing Their Bodies Is The Greatest Pleasure

Throughout the Songs of Solomon almost all the human anatomy is described in the context of the pleasures derived in sharing with each other. A token of the anatomy of love in the context of marriage include breasts and mouth, Songs of Solomon 7:6-8.

How beautiful you are and how pleasing, O love, with your delights! Your stature is like that of the palm, and your breasts like clusters of fruit. I said, “I will climb the palm tree; I will take hold of its fruit.” May your breasts be like the clusters of the vine, the fragrance of your breath like apples, and your mouth like the best wine. May the wine go straight to my lover, flowing gently over lips and teeth. I belong to my lover, and his desire is for me.

According to Paul the sharing of your body in marriage is not only a pleasurable thing, it is a duty. The duty of love is to share and ownership is in the hands of your spouse--1 Corinthians 7:3-5:

The husband should fulfill his marital duty to his wife, and likewise the wife to her husband. The wife’s body does not belong to her alone but also to her husband. In the same way, the husband’s body does not belong to him alone but also to his wife. Do not deprive each other except by mutual consent and for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer. Then come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.

These simple rules are the key to all other relationships. If we are capable of loving our spouses in such a way that we no longer hold ownership of our bodies, then we are capable of loving others as ourselves. In learning to love in this way we learn to relate to God. The God who choose not to own his own body but gave it away for us to be saved!Jesus And The TrinityJesus example of total commitment is our role model of how the Trinity loves us, and of how we ought to love one another--Philippians 2:4-8:

Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others. Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death-- even death on a cross!

Loving Jesus and loving our closest neighbor, our spouses, go hand in hand. In order to understand the nature of the doctrine of the Trinity and its implications for us today we must do so in the context of relationships. Relationships that come out of the pleasure for companionship, not the discipline of legal requirements. Through the process of marriage I have learned many things about how to foster and how not to foster relationships. I would lie if I was to say that I am the perfect husband or that I fully understand how my wife reasons. I have learned that many times the issue is to learn to enjoy the beauty of reasoning contrary to mine. Not that I many times we argue about our mutual logics, we do so, and even enjoy the process. The point is to submit, not out of logic but out of love for the relationship. The amazing miracle is that the greatest pleasure is associated with this kind of logic!

The logic of Jesus is the logic of equality in diversity. Treating others as equals even when we cannot always accept their logic. Jesus practiced this discipline all the way to the cross of Calvary! This discipline will bring to Jesus the greatest joy, the joy of saving us from our sins. That is why Jesus is looking forward to our reunion with him. When Jesus will be reunited with his first human creation, Adam. The joy of the reunion brings shivering sparks up and down Jesus’ spinal cord. This promise is extended to all. We all will become the bride to be reunited with the bridegroom in the joy of total union and the pleasures of marital companionship--Isaiah 62:4-5:

No longer will they call you Deserted, or name your land Desolate. But you will be called Hephzibah, and your land Beulah; for the LORD will take delight in you, and your land will be married. As a young man marries a maiden, so will your sons marry you; as a bridegroom rejoices over his bride, so will your God rejoice over you.

God is as eager to share with us and be delighted in us as a groom over his bride. God wants to rejoice in you as much as a bridegroom wants to “rejoice over his bride.” Are we anticipating this joy by practicing on earth the joy of sharing with our spouses and neighbors? Like concentric circles our relationships are to grow, and as they grow we become more willing to submit to one another. Is there room for diversity in your life? Are you willing to submit to those you cannot understand their logic?ConclusionIf we are to live a wholeness life we need to learn from the Trinity some key behaviors/attitudes.

1. We do not need to be able to understand in order to believe. Just like we do not understand the logic of our spouse’s in order to always love them; we do not need to understand how the Trinity is best described in order to have a relationship with God!

2. We have been created in God’s image and in order to fully appreciate this image we need to treat male and females as equal. Females carry God’s image as much as males do! We are both the image of God on earth!3. Just like we have the need for companionship, God has the need for companionship. It is not a favor that God has saved us; it is because God needs us. Out of self-love God saved us!

4. Since God needs us we can feel as partners, members of the family of God. We are not strangers receiving charity, we can provide God with what She/He needs–companionship!

5. God will judge us based on our relationship with Her/Him. Our relationship with Her/Him is judged based on our relationship with those closer to us.

6. God expects us to submit to one another, just like Jesus submitted because he needs us. We also need each other and we ought to submit in order to reflect the Trinity’s ways of companionship.

Are you ready to try?

Dr. Johnny Ramirez Johnson is a tenured professor in Theology, Psychology, and Culture at the School of Religion at Loma Linda University.


This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at http://spectrummagazine.org/node/4216

Easy answers:
The statue of “John Harvard, founder 1638” is of student, Sherman Hoar. John Harvard is not the founder and yes the date is wrong. AND Tourists rub the statue’s toe for luck “like the students do” but the students don’t.

Hard questions:
Pastors tell me that “3=1 and 1=3”. Pastors are not good at math.
“The Trinity cannot be divided or separated.”
“The Son of God could chose, even when separated from God, to make the choice we could not make.”
Separation from GOD means that if the trinity cannot separate from itself then…say what?
So if there is only one GOD and Jesus died for our sins then did only 1/3 of God die?
Or all of God? Or none?

There are some that believe that the “Trinity” are/is “avatars”.
Some eastern religions, and some Christians, use avatars as on-earth manifestation of God(s).
So God is behind the curtain. Holding up sock puppet(s).
“Here I am as a man.” Here I am whispering in your ere.” Here I am moving mountains.”
Then if Jesus, the sock puppet, died, how did that effect God?

When I read early Judaism, with out a Christian bias, I get many Gods.
I have seen Jewish statues of “mother God”. Oh I forgot women can’t…

What sort of praise is it to say God is above all gods if no other gods exist? I quickly found 20 texts talking about “the Gods”.
If trinity is for 3, is there a word for 4, 5, 6? Why not?

Probably this is just another thing to fight over while we are not feeding the hungry.

1 Like