08-06-2005, 09:10 AM #1
Amazing is the TRINITY, logically consistent, absolutely original
Transcendence, Personhood and Man
One of the sublime realities of the Christian faith is what we commonly call the Trinity—three persons in one essence of the Godhead. The Trinity does indeed present a mystery, but as one of the great philosophers and legal scholars of our times, Mortimer Adler, noted, any knowledge of God would be expected to bring both rudimentary clarity and legitimate mystery. Adler's scrutinizing mind led him to his own conversion to Christ.
Obviously, a troubling question may be raised as to how there can be a “three-ness” and a “one-ness” without equivocation. We must bear in mind that God is a person. There has to be a dimension where, by analogy, we understand how He can be infinite and yet be personal. C.S. Lewis does a masterful job in helping us approach this mystery. Here's what he says:
"You know that in space you can move in three ways—left or right, backwards or forwards, up or down. . . They are called the three Dimensions. Now notice this. If you're using only one dimension, you could draw only a straight line. If you're using two, you could draw a figure: say, a square. And a square is made up of four lines. . . If you have three dimensions, you could then build what we call a solid body: say, a cube. . . And a cube is made up of six squares.
Do you see the point? A world of one dimension would be a world of straight lines. In a two-dimensional world, you still get straight lines, but many lines make one figure. In a three-dimensional world, you still get figures but many figures make one solid body. . . As you advance to more real and more complicated levels, you don't leave behind the things you found on simpler levels; you still have them, but combined in new ways—in ways you couldn't imagine if you knew only the simpler levels." (Footnote 1: C.S. Lewis, Beyond Personality (London: Geoffrey Bles, 1944), 14-16.)
This helps us get an albeit slender grasp on how the concept of personhood can contain a complexity and yet retain a meaningful simplicity.
In practical terms this concept of unity in diversity has fascinating implications for life. For only in the Christian message can we explain unity and diversity in the effect of this universe, because there is unity and diversity in God the first cause. God's blueprint for us is unity, diversity, and community. God's gift to us is our individuality meant to express itself best in community.
What a glorious gift this mystery unfolds. Try explaining unity, diversity, and community in other paradigms and you will see not a sublime mystery but systemic contradiction.
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