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Discussion in 'General Baptist Discussions' started by quantumfaith, Oct 13, 2013.
That was a very good explanation considering the limitations of our minds. I think I posted on this forum sometime back of the two dimensional creature, except I used the comparison that if we tried to contact this creature by putting our hand through the square, all that the two dimensional creature would see is five small circles where our fingers intersect the box, which of course is not what our hand looks like. It adequately explains why we cannot see or understand an infinitely dimensional God.
I explain the Trinity as such!
Although I am one person, I wear three hats. First, I am a father to my children. Secondly, I am a son to my parents. Third, I am a friend and a person to those I run into while moving through life!
I see God as something very similar! Which is how I can best understand Him as being one person with three responsibilities or jobs to do!
Now, if you are going to excommunicate me from the church for seeing God and the TRinity in this way, so be it! It works for me, and the ground has yet to swallow me up. The sky has not released lightening bolts to strike me dead. And I am still moving in HIs power to do His work for His Kingdom! So, He hasn't fired me yet, and that is a good thing!
BTW - Great post! It should garner tons of input, squabbles and debates! :laugh:
The explanation seems to be a form of modalism, not the Trinitarian teaching of scripture. In essence, it says that there is only one God (good!) and there is only one Person (bad!) that we see in three different ways.
The big problem here is that this view assumes that God is material, not spirit, and so much conform to the rules and nature of the material world. Yet there is only one Person of the Trinity that has become material - the Son.
It is very hard to get our minds to conceive of anything that is not material, so the idea of a Triune God in eternal relationship is very difficult. The differences between the Persons of the Triune God is more than titles or the way They appear to us.
Are you responding to RD2, or the video? I have to ask, because it doesn't appear your post is applicable to the video, but you don't specifically address RD2, either. Thanks.
I am actually addressing both, but primarily the video.
I touch on RD2's comments regarding the roles he plays in life, but other than that, I am referring to the video.
The video postulates that God is multi-dimensional (which seems to indicate that God is material) and uses the illustration of two dimensional person seeing only one face of a cube. Then it goes on to illustrate the three Persons of God as merely different sides of the same cube. This illustration undermines the distinct nature of the three Persons of the Triune God:
The Father is not the Son nor Spirit.
The Son is not the Father nor Spirit
The Spirit is not the Father nor Son
Perhaps you do not fully comprehend the mathematical implications of infinite dimensionality. I sure don't, and I have much practice in mathematics dealing with it symbolically. The truth is, NONE of us can adequately explain the nature and expression of the Trinity, to claim to have it nailed down.....is just....well WRONG.
This video is the kind of junk that happens when people try to explain things beyond what scripture directly says.
Then, with due respect, I don't think you understood the video. It did not limit God as does modalism, but states pretty convincingly that God is One while able to present Himself as three, or even more, if He deemed it necessary for Him to do so.
There is scientific evidence that there may be as many as 11 dimensions, and if we can postulate that many from this three-dimensional existence, there are probably many, many more that we can't begin to imagine, much less fathom. The next one above our three-dimensional existence is Time. Is it material, from our aspect? God may very well be material, but above our three-dimensional plane that "material existence" is beyond our understanding. Do you see? That is what the video is saying, and which I fear we confirm by trying to explain Him using our frame of reference. We can't. We will never be able to grasp Him, just as the two-dimensional being couldn't begin to grasp our existence, as the video shows.
Actually, no it doesn't. The Father is not the Son, but the Father is God, as are the other manifestations of God not the other manifestations, but all are God. God is the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, but none of those Three are the other Two. They can't be, not from our frame of reference. The video is not a perfect explanation. There can be no "perfect explanation" in an existence not able to define an existence above our own. But it is pretty good.
The fundamental problem here is that mathematics is designed to calculate and describe MATERIAL things. God is Spirit, not matter. Only Christ has taken on matter.
That's a statement loaded with misunderstanding, and explains your objections to the video. You don't understand math, therefore you won't understand the video.
Mathematics is purely a creation of the mind of God. Mathematics is that body of knowledge that is arrived at by pure reason, and does not rely upon any observations of a phenomenal, material world. It is free from the limitations imposed by the particular way human minds create their experience of the underlying. As such it probably the closest the human mind can come to understanding God Himself.
Notice your language... "present Himself as three, or even more..."
That's the problem. The theology behind what you describe is that God is in actuality one and merely presents Himself in three ways because we could not comprehend him as one... which is a strange argument. The reason modalism keeps popping up throughout history is that it is easy to understand. It is easy to understand God as one. However, in the New Testament, we see distinction between the Father, Son and Spirit. They are One but also Three. That doesn't work mathematically (a method of examining and describing material reality), but it doesn't have to since God is spirit.
Yes, I am familiar with those theories. But that doesn't change the New Teatament witness about the distinction between the Persons of the Triune God.
If we go with Einstein's theories, time is material in some sense.
Except that God is spirit. That is made perfectly clear throughout the scriptures. Trying to speculatively posit that spirit is somehow also material gets you in a lot of trouble both theologically and scientifically.
Your use of the term "manifestations" seems to indicate that the three Persons of the Triune God have not been that way for all time - that there was a time when the Son did not exist, for instance - which is contrary to scripture and the teaching of the church.
I disagree about its goodness and helpfulness. It sounds good, but it is essentially violating the intent of the 2nd commandment by trying to materially represent God.
I believe it is a sophisticated form of modalism which undermines Biblical teaching. As RevMitchell warned, we need to be careful about going beyond what scripture teaches - especially when we ignore the clear teaching that God is spirit.
Perhaps you are correct.
What is your evidence for this assertion?
So what is it based on and what information does it provide if it is not based on any observable data? Can you tell me how many apples are in my lunch bag today using that "body of knowledge...arrived at by pure reason" that does not "rely upon any observations of a phenomenal, material world?"
So how do you mathematically calculate the nature and characteristics of spirit (non-matter)?
You have put words in my mouth, misrepresented or deliberately misunderstood what I have said, and claimed I do not believe God is Spirit. I do, but He is also more than Spirit, but in ways we cannot begin to understand.
Your problem is that you want to explain God in human terms. It can't be done. I'm not going to try.
I did not make the claim you allege. We are having a discussion about a highly technical subject. The video ignores that God has defined Himself as spirit (Jesus did too, "God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship Him in spirit and in truth." - John 4) and you have been defending the video.
Actually, that's what the video is doing. I'm trying to rein in the speculation and point out that the video does not match the New Testament witness. That's quite the opposite of trying "to explain God in human terms" beyond the biblical witness.
You made a number of interesting points but it seems like you're going to bail out now. That's unfortunate.
When you have actually watched the video and attempted to understand it without prejudice, we can discuss this. Until then, it's futile.
From the video ...
Clearly the video states He is Spirit, but is so much more than that. The writers of the Bible make it clear God is beyond our understanding: "My ways are higher than your ways; My thoughts are higher than your thoughts" (Isaiah 55:9). He "is able to do far more abundantly beyond what we ask or think" (Ephesians 3:20). He provides "peace beyond comprehension" (Philippians 4:7). But you want to argue as though He can be explained in human terms while accusing others, who do not think so, that they are the ones arguing from that perspective. Such circular and invalid arguments are futile. Again, I won't try to discuss it with you if you will not be open to what the video actually says, but insist on misrepresenting it. Continue to see Him in finite, definable ways if you wish. I choose not.
I don't think you understand mathematics very well. Mathematics, even at its simplest core is abstract. Can you show me the number "1", no, you can only show a representation of our definition of "1". It only gets more symbolic and "abstract" as we move from simple arithmetic concepts.
In Linear Algebra, one routinely works with matrices and vector spaces in "n-dimensions". Even though we 3 dimensional creatures are physically limited to the standard three dimensions, our gift of curiosity and rational thought permits us to mathematically (symbolically) represent and "speculate" about additional dimensions.
I watched it without undue prejudice. My only "prejudice" comes from understanding the doctrine of the Triune God as presented in the New Testament. I have fielded many questions about it from teens and college age students who have struggled with the doctrine.
What is the biblical support for God being more than Spirit (other than the instance of the incarnation of Christ)?
That's a weird argument. God is greater than they angels because God is the only self-sustaining Person(s) in existence. The angels are not. Angels and all other living things owe their existence and sustenance to God. If He did not sustain us, we would cease to exist.
This is a logical fallacy. There is no reason why God would have to be more than spirit to create the angels. Material existence has a spiritual cause, but we have no information regarding exactly how "spirit" works. Any claims to the contrary are complete speculation. And since the creator of the video seems to think that the only thing God has over the angels is that He must be more than spirit, the creator of the video has much deeper theological issues than his views on the Triune nature of God.
Nope. Exactly the opposite. The creator of the video is trying to define God by the latest scientific theory by ignoring certain biblical truths.
The only "finite, definable ways" I try to portray God is in the terms of New Testament teaching.
I am open to correction, especially since you have raised the possibility that I don't understand mathematics. Fundamentally, I think I do, but I know I am not especially knowledgeable about mathematics past Calculus.
Well mathematics at its core is based on representing material things symbolically - for instance, how many apples I have in my lunch bag. I can do addition and come out with a reliable result. One of the engineers I work with can make a series of complicated calculations based on the nature of certain materials and structures and design a bridge that will allow people and automobiles up to a certain size safely cross a river.
Sure. As a computer programmer, I worked with multidimensional matrices and vectors and can go beyond what can seemingly naturally occur in our material world. However, all of that is based on the concept of a material world and is rooted in observable realities. Mathematics finds its core, objective reality in the properties of the material world. We can certainly move beyond it, but everything is tied back to matter.
So... how does one use mathematics to define and describe the spiritual?
This statement, right here, reveals your fundamental misunderstanding of mathematics, and consequently your inability to see that you choose to explain God in mere human terms.
It is the nature of the materials, not the materials themselves, that are key to the design and calculation of the bridge design. That nature is intangible. It is not something one can see, hear, feel, taste, or smell. Certainly the materials are of such tangible stuff, but the "things" that make them suitable for what they can do as a bridge are not. You can't touch the tensile strength of titanium, smell the malleability of steel cable, taste the flexibility of the concrete pavement that expands and contracts with traffic, the steel beneath it, and with variations in temperatures.
Neither can you see the thoughts of God, hear the relationship among the Persons of God, and our understanding of mathematics does not permit us to create an equation that explains the very nature of God, the way your engineer can calculate and explain how the nature of the materials in a bridge will cause that structure to function when they are all brought together in its form. Yet that is what you are trying to do. It is what the authors of the Bible attempted to do. Those authors were also wise enough to admit that they were unsuccessful in doing so.
You limit the video to this same frame of reference you have adopted, that of explaining God in human terms. Yet, like the Bible, the video's producers are wise enough to have created it, not to explain God, but to admit they cannot explain God, but may, in some remote and ethereal way, be able to grasp a wisp of His nature. When you accept that, perhaps you can begin to understand what they have said, rather than imposing your own prejudice and misunderstanding on their statements.