Winds of change and winds of the spirit
3/5/17 at 12:23 AM 0 Comments


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I was once shown three pictures of the trinity by an Anglican priest. Each picture was a landscape which when put side by side was each part of one landscape. The artist was saying that God is like one landscape which if divided by three is still one. The wonder of art is that it can grasp a truth without words. Language cannot always say what a thing is whereas a picture can make it as clear as crystal. Poetry, like a picture can do the same, where prose becomes cumbersome and misleading.

But is there a literal explanation of the trinity, or must we believe that the Father, Son and Holy Spirit are one God beyond words? As you may know there is no mention of the trinity in the Scriptures but there are verses that refer to Jesus as the Word that, at the beginning, was with God and was God.1 Another text appears in Hebrews saying, 'Thy throne O God is for ever and ever, and the sceptre of justice and the sceptre of his kingdom. Thou hast loved right and hated wrong; therefore O God, thy God, has set thee above thy fellows.'2
And most certainly St. Paul's letters speak of the Lord Jesus as the image of God3 and in him the complete being of God, by God's own choice came to dwell.4 So there is every reason to think that although the Scriptures do not mention the trinity, Athanasius, Bishop of Alexandre, in the 4th century, thought it was implied, and the trinity was confirmed by the Council of Nicea in 325 AD. The Nicene Creed upheld the belief that Jesus is 'God of God, light of Light, true God of true God, begotten not made, of one being with the Father....' Which became the bedrock of Christian theology.
Of course, if Jesus is the Son of God, conceived by the Holy Ghost, then he is most truly God's only Son. What better words are there than the Nicene Creed to describe his divine origin. A simple human analogy will verify this: 'a son born of his father must be man of man, true man of true man, begotten not made, of one being with his father...' The son is both a man in his own right, and a man of mankind, or man according to man's family nature.
This makes complete sense but there is one striking difference. This difference is in the attributes of the father and his son. The son is not like the father in every respect. His gifts, abilities and powers may be very different and his authority more so.
Similarly, Jesus is everything that the Nicene Creed says, yet with one striking difference . The difference is in the Father's authority over the Son, in the Father's omniscience and knowledge of times and things to come. This means that although Jesus is God of God by nature he is not God of God in knowledge and attributes. As Jesus said, 'The Father is greater than I,5 and the Father is the only true God.6
If then we wish to speak of God as the greatest of all beings, then God the Father almighty is God alone, and that corresponds with what the Apostles Creed says: 'I believe in God the Father almighty.'
But if we wish to speak of Jesus as God, as the landscape's oneness of God portrays, then Jesus is God by nature and offspring, not by attributes. Jesus is God's being, begotten of the Father, and is truly the Son of God.

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