If you are like me, you might have grown into your Christianity without much thought to the trinity, other than its reality and opaqueness. Most of us imagine the one nature of God rather than the three part of His triune nature.
Last year I was privileged to read an insightful book entitled ‘Trinitarian Conversations,’ being the thoughts of a number of Biblical scholars whose life in the Spirit enables them to be vessels of revelation – not of new truths but of truths that have always been so and which have become obscured and even lost in the hurly-burly of Western Thought - which in many cases has more to say about doing than being.
In this book I learned that the trinity was indeed three distinct persons, yet one God. Maybe I always knew this in a hazy way but the Biblical scholarship here revealed that the three were indeed three, lived in great joy with each other yet in a kind of oneness called perichoresis. This is a Greek word the Church Fathers used to describe being one with another, yet fully oneself. The point for us is that this pattern of God’s being is the pattern of our being with God in the oneness that we call the incarnation.
Oneness with God and not the law or religion is our inheritance in the post cross age.
TAINTS OF DEISM
Thomas Torrance observes that, “In Western theology particularly it has become too common for theologians to separate the doctrine of the One God from the doctrine of the Triune God. That gives expression to a deistic disjunction between God and the world, far removed from what God has revealed of himself in the ancient Hebrew Scriptures or in the New Testament as the God whose covenant love undergirds the whole creation and embraces all humanity with his mercies..” (1)
The inbuilt drive to make religion out of separation is part of the ‘fall instinct.’ This is the fear that has evolved out of the culture of lies emitting from the Father of Lies. That God cannot be trusted to be Father for us so that we do well to craft our own righteousness. This for many is an addiction to legalism, the drug of religion or some variation on living out the knowledge of good and evil.
The effect is separation from God, not in reality but in our minds and hearts. Separation is the great darkness.
Law dependency is separationism. We may observe in ourselves and certain kinds of Christianity, not only a deistic disjunction but also a cultural separation from personality and being that ‘separation’ has no difficulty in embracing - when it makes religion into legalism and moralism.
This despite the fact that God presented Himself in the form of Jesus of Nazareth who came among us as the life and light of the world. We do better when we dispense with religion and are naked to God – without layers made from the law or self-made moralism.
NAKED AND REAL
Before the fall Adam and Eve lived naked with God - without clothes and without self-made acceptability garments. After the fall they needed clothes because of their 'nakedness of being' in separation from God was exposed.
We can sew our own clothes today from the fabric of self-effort and religion, from sabbaths and morals. But religion is a product of the knowledge of good and evil and is always reductionist. It substitutes regulations, behaviours and rites for life. It always makes us less than we are. Only Christ as us liberates from sins and addictions and imbues us with spirit and life.
Nevertheless many of the religious are addicted to reductionism because they regard Christ our life which is Christ come in the flesh as without substance. They cannot trust oneness as sufficient and they see it as nakedness. They prefer their illusory self-made clothing to the clothing of Christ - the clothing in which we can indeed be naked. Naked because we are naked to the un-insulated oneness that is ours in God. Which means we are clothed. Here we possess THE ONENESS THAT GOD HAS WITH HIMSELF.
‘For many deceivers have gone out into the world, those who do not confess the coming of Jesus Christ in the flesh. Such a one is the deceiver and the antichrist’ 2 John 1.7 NIV.
With monotonous regularity, those who have made careers out of contractual, legalistic versions of the Kingdom label such relational views as without substance or ‘new age’. They do not see that their own theology makes them ghosts of themselves and has more to do with the cult of materialism and the technological age than it does with the reality presented in the old and new testaments.
Some of these people rail against ‘experience’ because they have made a life out of the absence of the experience of God. Tied to words written on rocks, they specialise in a gospel of words, definitions and positions, often with little experience of the being of God who is the word made flesh and dwelling in those astute and teachable enough to live in the incarnation rather than the hallucination of their own views.
The pursuit of truth for its own sake has merit when we realise that truth is a person and that truth is God. God and truth are life. Christian beliefs are not true just because we were taught them by our family or socialised into them by our church. Truth is the ‘apostles doctrine’ the expression of it by informed and non-partisan Biblical scholars and the Body of Christ that is informed by the Nicene Creed, the Church Father’s and not tied in any way to ‘this body of death.’*
WHAT’S YOUR VISION?
We will do much better if we live to explore and experience the limitless life that is ours in Christ rather than living to maintain and pump-up the understandings of our parents.
* The Body of Death Paul speaks of in Romans is the culture of obstinacy that refuses to participate in Christ’s new covenant union with Himself and the trinity. (1) Torrance, Thomas F.. The Christian Doctrine of God, One Being Three Persons (T&T Clark Cornerstones) (pp. 8-9). Bloomsbury Publishing. Kindle Edition.