Toward Trinities Transparency
by Rob Bjerk
“Towards Trinities Transparency” has been created to “test drive” the concept of a scripted visualization of common trinitarian and non-trinitarian conceptions of God. Since some of these conceptions stretch – or even transcend – natural, innate categories of human language, it is easy to talk past one another when discussing these ideas. It is hoped this approach will add clarity and transparency to the study, discussion, and instruction about the relationship between Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
The title of this presentation owes its origin to the interesting and probing podcast and blog hosted by Dale Tuggy found at www.trinities.org. Dr. Tuggy examines “Theories About the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit,” and we are asked, “Do you love God enough. . . to think about him?” Dr. Tuggy has a Ph.D. in Philosophy from Brown University and teaches philosophy and religious studies at the State University of New York at Fredonia. His personal reflections and frequent interviews with those holding varying viewpoints are characterized by fairness, clarity, and respect.
Language, Logic, and Limitations
Christians believe that beyond the general revelation of God in creation, further propositional truths about God, Christ, man, creation, and redemption have been revealed to man in the Bible. These truths, though sufficient for humanity’s needs, may not be exhaustive, since God is beyond man both in the transcendence of his being and the perfection of his character. But God is able to convey real truth to man through the medium of human language and, ultimately, in Jesus Christ. One might say man’s ability to understand and communicate substantial reality about God is a vital aspect of his creation in the image of God.
The fact that God can communicate truths about himself in human language does not require that these truths be exhaustive, or that our limited minds comprehend them fully. But what we are able to know is dependent on the capacity of our creaturely conceptual, reasoning, and logical categories. Our understanding is guided in various ways by biblical types, shadows, analogies, poetry, wisdom literature, prophecy, symbolism, visions, parables, historical accounts, letters, and teaching – culminating in the life, teaching, death, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus and the gift of God’s Spirit to guide the people of God into all truth. But our transmission of this knowledge is still limited by our God-given human categories and capacities of language and thought.
Since man’s understanding of God is attained through the natural space, time, and matter categories of human language, these natural categories and limitations of human language and logic will be considered the norm for our scripting conventions, and various supra-natural theories involving omnipresence, atemporality, and immateriality – though not necessarily false or illogical – will frequently be visually scripted as modifications or extensions of this norm.
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