Thoughts on The Godhead and the Trinity: Arriving at A Statement of Faith

How can God be the creator of a universe which is on a scale beyond our comprehension and also be the loving Father of a humankind which occupies a most minute speck in that universe? Scientifically, this might be expressed less dramatically as how can there be sentient human existence in an apparently material or physical universe?

Thoughts on The Godhead and the Trinity: Arriving at A Statement of Faith

The question arises because at least since Newton’s seventeenth-century time, science has increasingly claimed to be able to provide all the answers to all the questions about life, even though the history of science is a perpetual laying down of old certainties in favour of new developments in knowledge. At about the same time as Newton, the French philosopher Descartes was proposing that life was dualistic; there was the obvious physical world and the less obvious but equally real mental or spiritual world, and the two worlds were quite separate (dualism).

The achievements of Newton and Descartes dominated thought for a couple of centuries until seemingly undermined in the twentieth century firstly by quantum physics, the science of the ‘invisible’ microworld, and secondly by interpreting dualism not as two completely separate domains but integrated as two sides of the same coin or as nested one within the other, the physical within the spiritual. This concept of wholeness known to ancient Greek philosophy, the integration of everything, is the key to unifying knowledge (Logos, masculine) with wisdom (Sophia, feminine) rather than separation and division. The foundations that Newton and Descartes laid are possibly best understood as having been developed rather than undermined.

Why is the creator of the universe, everything visible and invisible, who is thought of as omnipotent and omniscient and probably sub-consciously imagined as impersonal, concerned with me, one human being among nine billion others who is utterly insignificant within the realm of the universe and totally powerless to control natural events? Let’s follow Meister Eckhart (1260-1328) and name the creator of the universe as the Godhead, unknowable in almost every way. A Mystery because the human mind is incapable of comprehending it in its entirety, yet known in part through its creation of the universe. Over the 13.8 billion years this current universe appears to have existed, it has purposefully produced in this miniscule corner we know as the solar system a vehicle of consciousness called the human being, a creature that seeks to question and understand everything. Having been born from within the universe, the human being represents the universe reflecting on itself. Quite an achievement, but to what purpose?

Theologically the human being has sought to explain what is happening by recognizing three faces or three features of the Godhead which are within its comprehension. It sees one feature of the Godhead as God the Father displaying unconditional love for what the Godhead has brought into existence. Within the human experience of the first century this is illustrated in Luke’s Gospel by the story of the prodigal son who received unlimited forgiveness. The practice of this unconditional love can bring pain, it is always present and creative, it is never ultimately defeated and its consummation can be exhilarating. Subsequently, we have appreciated that God is also the Father of an exhilaratingly beautiful and providential natural world and that whenever we disfigure or destroy part of that world, he will re-create it in some form.

The second feature that the otherwise mysterious Godhead reveals is named God the Son. The Son is the Messiah (Hebrew), or the Christ (Greek), who reflects the potential within the human being for becoming whole or divine in the metaphorical sense of sonship. After nearly 14 billion years the mysterious Godhead appears to show that it is replenishing itself, something quite beyond the capacity of our minds to comprehend except in the sense that he takes the human spirit, this vehicle of consciousness, back into himself (resurrection) when the physical framework comes to the end of its life. What does he do with us in our newly resurrected spiritual form?

The third feature of the Godhead we have come to recognize is God the Holy Spirit. The Spirit of the Godhead, which is the Spirit of Life, journeys within the Godhead’s creation ensuring the continuation of its evolutionary life. This physical universe is immersed in the Spirit of the Godhead; physical and spiritual are integrated as two sides of the same coin and give birth to consciousness. This consciousness could go its own self-centred way but it is also invited by the Holy Spirit to assist in co-creating the future. There is no hint of compulsion to act in this way because that is completely contrary to the unconditional love of God the Father. Nor is there any hint of a determinism that would overrule this freewill necessity of unconditional love. A structure of nesting whereby one level of life is subsumed within another ensures that the deterministic physical laws of science apply only to the physical world and do not have the final say, because the physical world is nested within a spiritual world. The physical world will die because that is its nature, and the spiritual world will continue (resurrection) on the basis of unconditional love.

What does all this mean? It appears to say that this unconditional love (the spiritual Godhead) which has given birth to the universe remains the greatest power in the universe. If we lose our physical life by practising unconditional love we are not lost. We will lose that physical life in due course in any case and God takes us back into his spiritual life whenever and however our physical life comes to an end. But because of the innate inability of our human existence to test this thesis we have to take it on faith. This is the same faith that caused the writer of Genesis roundabout the sixth century BCE to claim that the human being is made in the image and likeness of God. Quite an extraordinary insight into the depth of human nature. Such a depth whereby the embodiment of God the Holy Spirit in the life of Jesus of Nazareth in the first century CE is held by Christians to be as complete a representation (incarnation) of God in the life of a human being as can be. In our lives we seek to follow the example and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth confident that following his resurrection as the spiritual Jesus the Christ our spirit will also always return to the Godhead. From glory to glory rather than from ashes to ashes.

Image: Unknown Unknown, CC BY-SA 2.0 <;, via Wikimedia Commons


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