Hey everyone Guess I’m throw in my two cents (or one or three cents, depending on how much value you think it has after all is read and done) on the popular topic many have been discussing on the forum, namely the Trinity versus other views, or, to put it another way, the ‘mechanics’ of God.
I guess it may be just because I’m not much of a math/science analytical type (and all of this discussion can certainly appeal to those who are a bit more left-brained than myself… though we are certainly called to love God with our minds, so I won’t argue that this kind of thing has its place), but I do wonder sometimes if our Creator just isn’t as concerned about our having a very clear picture or view right now of His ‘mechanics’ as we do of His character.
Take ourselves for example.
There are different views on how we are made up… some say body and spirit, some say body and mind and spirit, some say the soul is a part of us, some say we are a soul, some say this, some say that…
There are people who have studied the body, and know its anatomy fairly well, who have studied human psychology and have a decent grasp on the mind’s workings, and even those who have studied our spiritual capacity, and have come to some interesting conclusions… but, ultimately, knowing about a person, how they may or may not be made up, though it may certainly be helpful, is ultimately not what is going to create a relationship with that person.
You have to talk to them, listen to them, communicate and connect with them… and finding out a person’s character when it comes to relationship is far more important then finding out their mechanics…
Can you trust them? Can you relate to them? What do they stand for? What do they care about? What are their hopes and their dreams? Their fears and their doubts? What keeps them going, gives their life meaning? Could you call them a friend?
Character, who a person is, is ultimately more important to having a relationship with them than their mechanics, or what they are… and I think God made us this way, so that relationship can’t be effectively approached via formula or scientific method or the like… batting around ideas, philosophy, metaphysics, is fine when you are by yourself… trust me, I know all too well about batting around ideas (I was the king of daydreamers when I was growing up)… but when you are with others you need to actually live… actually make choices… actually apply some of your knowledge and understanding of things, in order to be part of a community of individuals, or you can just go by faith, or take things as they come, when your ideas pretty much fall flat in the face of reality.
In short, we can’t stay in our ivory towers… we have to step outside.
And this is really hard. I have had all these great visions of how I want to live, and then either how it plays out comes off as mediocre in comparison to the original vision, or I just totally screw it up.
Talking the talk is so much easier then walking the walk.
And in a relationship with God, though there are definitely some differences, it’s pretty much the same I think.
I believe God is interested in having relationships with persons, not just ideas. And He wants us to share His values, and not only in how we see people as people and not as ideas, but also that we see God as a person and not as an idea…
Believe you me, this is hard for a guy like me to take. I’m a loner by nature, and have a tendency to get wrapped up and stuck on the inside, and blank everything and everyone around me out… I like batting around ideas, but relationships are definitely a challenge for me…
God has called me out to actually relate to Him and to others… I’m trying, and often I fail miserably, but then I believe that I’m growing in this little by little, and God is very patient with me, and very gracious to me, and I’m thankful for that.
I guess what I’m trying to say is that we should try to focus on the revealed things more then the hidden things, and remember that even though there is more that we don’t know then what we do know, we don’t have to drive ourselves crazy trying to flip that equation around.
It’s like my fiancee, Kaylyn. She tries to keep things simple, whereas I like to think a lot. She’s always telling me ‘you think too much’. Sometimes it’s a little hurtful, but most of the time she’s right, I know. Kaylyn says she just wants to live and enjoy her life. She trusts God, and she’s thankful. She’s no more perfect then I am, but maybe there’s something to her childlike approach to things.
And to be a Berean we may need to use our brains, but I think issues like Trinitarianism versus non-Trinitarianism just aren’t nearly as important to most people as something like eternal conscious torment and annihilation versus universal reconciliation.
The former, to most people, is simply a matter of mechanics. But the latter, to most people, is really a matter of character.
To me the latter is far more important than the former.
I admit that I struggle with the issue of God’s ‘makeup’ sometimes. How do I pray? To the Father? To Jesus? To the Spirit? Does it even really matter? I like how C.S. Lewis said somewhere in his book Mere Christianity (I’m paraphrasing here because I can’t find the quote), that the important thing is to simply enter into the relationship, and learn from there.
But ultimately, I have always struggled immensely with the issue of what God will do with us after we die, and what God’s ultimate plan is for humankind… and believing in everlasting hell, and trying to accept it, because I didn’t think that there were any other valid options of how to look at these matters, I was faced with terrifying fears and doubts, and a great deal of anger at times towards a God who held not only my own life, but the lives of my family and my friends, many of whom don’t believe in God or Jesus, in His hands…
If God really does love everyone, being Love in essence, and if God really can save everyone, being Almighty, for Him not to do so is simply illogical in the worst possible sense. God would be utterly schizophrenic and insane. Which made me feel schizophrenic and insane whenever I started really thinking about these things…
Spirit of fear and of confusion, anyone?
My basic struggle with it was this: ‘Hey God, is this really the best you can do? Is that your master plan? Save a few and then give up on all the rest? Wow… do you want me to clap for you?’
I don’t mean to come off as blasphemous, but the whole ‘doctrine’ of less saved and more doomed has always made me mad, so much so that in the past I’ve cussed God (or my caricature of God) out and the only way I’ve been able to deal with it has been to compartmentalize it or try to ignore the issue.
I tried the best I could to trust God even though I didn’t understand and felt very uncomfortable with the contradictions.
So when I started reading about the hope of universal reconciliation, that the Good News really is Good News (and of great joy no less, like Gabriel told the shepherds in the fields on the night of Christ’s birth), and became convinced of it (not that I don’t struggle with doubts about it sometimes, as I do with everything… that and I’m pretty new to this, so…), then it’s like there was this big burden lifted off my shoulders.
I still have things I struggle with, but I’m more hopeful now.
What I’m saying is this change of view, which I believe God has led me into, has helped me to trust God more, so it must be very important, whereas I’m not sure if coming to a solid view of how ‘the Father relates to the Son relates to the Spirit’ will really do much more for me other than make me feel a bit less mentally cluttered on the subject.
And what I’m also saying is that I think the things we should really focus on are the ones that have to do with God’s character, because ultimately they are what is most important to our relationship with God.
This other stuff, at least in my own view, is secondary by comparison.
Of course, being only human, I could be wrong about these things in one way or another.
But this is who I am, and where I’m coming from.
May we all learn and grow not only in our head knowledge of God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, but also, and even more, in our heart knowledge. And may we learn to trust, and to love.
May we all have more desire to seek relationships with people more than with ideas.
And may we all know God’s amazing grace in our search for answers and for where we truly belong, which is, in the end, with the Lord, who is our home.
Blessings to you all
‘And in this consists the Life of the Ages–in knowing Thee the only true God and Jesus Christ whom Thou hast sent.’
- John 17:3, Weymouth