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volume II: Synopsis

section IV: Divine Dynamics

page 33: Trinity

Many religions are based on mystery. Ever since we because aware of ourselves, we must have begun to see that we are subject to forces well beyond our control. The source of these forces we call God. The story of the Fall is the story the temptation to disobey God, and the consequences of doing so. Unique among the animals of paradise (we presume) we became aware of the pains of childbirth, of work and of death. John McHugh: Mystery, Fall of Man - Wikipedia, Jaynes

Although many might dismiss these ancient stories as 'myths' they nevertheless represent 'eternal' truths, which are with us today. In the old days, God was modelled on the closest human equivalent, despotic warlords with occasional flashes of compassion. Command and punishment are attributed to the will of an invisible personality or set of personalities, the Gods. Christianity places this personality outside the Universe, and considers the Universe to be dependent upon God, just as subjects are dependent upon their Lords. Mythology - Wikipedia

Now we realize that such commands and punishments as there are come from nature, which we understand as the personality of the Universe. Our own personalities are parts of nature, shaped by our long evolution. We are gradually developing constitutional rules to allow us to live in peace together with our world. We are learning to live on the assumption that the Universe is divine, taking into account the constraints placed on our behaviour by divine reality. Social evolution - Wikipedia, Klein: The Human Career

Under the old dispensation God, the subject of Theology, is a remote being about which we know nothing but what is written in the Bible. If the Universe is divine, on the other hand, we are inside God and all our experience is experience of God. We replace a relatively small library, the Bible, with every human experience, from love through daily life to war.

Theologies based on literary foundations are inherently weak. Since many theological assertions cannot be verified by public experience, theology is subject to manipulation by the Churches, corporate interests that make their living from applied theology.

If we accept the proposition that the Universe is divine, however, the situation changes. There is just one Universe and we are all in it, so there is a public foundation for agreement.

This is the situation in science. Although there are many instances of temporary error and political interference in science, the scientific method claims very wide respect because it is designed to home on the truth. The exploitation of scientific knowledge has led to explosive growth in the number of our species. It has also proved very useful in the pursuit of war. A lot of the good behaviour in the society of nations arises from the fear of nuclear retaliation if a nation steps outside the law. Public International Law - Wikipedia, Roll-Hansen: The Lysenko Effect

Divinity is by definition creative. In the traditional story, God created the Universe giving it a certain nature that he had thought up beforehand, just as any builder would do. God could have made it differently, but he chose the drama that Christians see in the Bible. This choice, and everything else about God is considered to be a mystery to us. The traditional God is an incomprehensible other

The most remarkable development in the history of Christianity is the doctrine of the Trinity. The Hebrew Bible ('The Old Testament') is the story of the God Yahweh and his Chosen People. The Old Testament contains many references to the 'Spirit of God'. The writers of the New testament, (later to become 'Christians') introduced the Son of God. Jesus of Nazareth was both divine and human. He became human to be sacrificed in atonement for an ancient human insult to God, so 'redeeming' us as from mortgage or pawn. Holy Spirit - Wikipedia, Joseph Sollier: Redemption

It took about three hundred years for the doctrine of the Trinity to become official, perhaps because it was a difficult problem for the theologians to reconcile the Trinity with the traditional unity of God: 'I am the Lord thy God . . . Thou shalt have no other gods before me.' Ten Commandments - Wikipedia, Exodus 20:1-17

The 'standard model' of the Trinity was based on human consciousness of understanding and love. This 'psychological' model was first developed in detail by Augustine, put into canonical form by Thomas Aquinas and transformed into he twentieth century by Bernard Lonergan. Augustine, Aquinas 160: Procession in God, Lonergan

In a nutshell the model says God becomes the Trinity in the same way that the human mind comes to know another person, and to love the person known. The Father's perfect knowledge of himself is the Son, the (mental) Word of God. The love between Father and Son is the Spirit. What differentiates these personalities is the set of relationships between them. These relationships are established by the genealogy of the Trinity. Logos (Christianity) - Wikipedia

The Father and the Son are differentiated by the relationships of 'paternity' and 'filiation'. The Spirit is differentiated from the Father and the Son by the relationships of 'spiration' and 'procession'. Aquinas 167 This model of the Trinity, even though it carries great weight in the Catholic Church, is, from a Biblical point of view, speculation.

It is nevertheless quite brilliant speculation, and is one of the foundation stones of the hypothesis that the Universe is divine, since it is an initial attempt to explain the creation of new divine states. Here we take the view that the theological model of the creation of the Trinity is very close to the quantum mechanical and relativistic models that form the basis of our current understanding of the creation of the Universe.

The two substantial differences from the traditional view are that first we are inside God, so that we can see the processes of creation (birth) and annihilation (death) occurring all around us. The second is that we do not limit the procession of personalities in God to the three of the Trinity, but allow it to proceed without end, like an ever branching tree, to give us the complex Universe we inhabit.

According to the big bang model, the Universe began as a pointlike entity which expanded and complexified into the Universe we now know. The quantum mechanical description of the world centres around three quantities, energy, momentum and action, all three of which are conserved. If this is the case, the energy, momentum and action of the Universe have stayed constant since the first moment until now and will remain the same until the end, if any. Why does the initial singularity grow?

Perhaps the the initial singularity, knowing (interacting with) itself, broke symmetry to form a first generation of new particles, which gave rise to a second generation and so on. The evolution of new particles (which broad term includes ourselves) continues to this day and beyond. The relationships of these particles to one another is what gives the Universe its structure.

We express the relationships between different entities in the Universe by transformations that carry one part into another. Such transformations encode the difference between the two entities in question. By transforming Father to Son and Son to Father, we understand the relationship between them. The theory of transformation is well developed in physics and dynamics in general. The means of such transformation is communication between tranforming entities.

The traditional model of God allows for no internal divine conflict. Our model of God must admit conflict, since conflict is a fact of life, and we wish to identify life with the experience of God. In a network, connections break as well as form, and this occurs at all scales (that is all peer levels). From the human point of view, this is tantamount to saying that good and evil are both part of the whole. This insight is the key to understanding 'the problem of evil': How can a good God allow (or even cause) bad things to happen?

(revised 26 May 2013)

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Further reading


Click on the "Amazon" link below each book entry to see details of a book (and possibly buy it!)

Augustine, Saint, and Edmond Hill (Introduction, translation and notes), and John E Rotelle (editor), The Trinity, New City Press 1991 Written 399 - 419: De Trinitate is a radical restatement, defence and development of the Christian doctrine of the Trinity. Augistine's book has served as a foundation for most subsequent work, particularly that of Thomas Aquinas.  
Hawking, Steven W, and G F R Ellis, The Large Scale Structure of Space-Time , Cambridge UP 1975 Preface: Einstein's General Theory of Relativity ... leads to two remarkable predictions about the universe: first that the final fate of massive stars is to collapse behind an event horizon to form a 'black hole' which will contain a singularity; and secondly that there is a singularity in our past which constitutes, in some sense, a beginning to our universe. Our discussion is principally aimed at developing these two results.' 
Jaynes, Julian, The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind, Mariner Books 2000 Jacket: 'At the heart of this book is the revolutionary idea that human consciousness did not begin far back in animal evolution but is a learned process brought into being out of an earlier hallucinatory mentality by cataclysm and catastrophe only 3000 years ago and still developing.' 
Klein, Richard G, The Human Career : Human Biological and Cultural Origins , University of Chicago Press 1999 Review: 'The Human Career describes one of the most spectacular changes to have occurred in our understanding of human evolution. The once-popular fresco showing a single file of marching hominids becoming ever more vertical, tall and hairless now appears to be a fiction. ... For most of the past four million years several species of hominids coexisted, sometimes in limited geographical areas. The eventual peopling of the planet with a single homogeneous species of hominid is shown to be exceptional on the geological timescale. ... If you could have only one book that deals with human evolution, this is definitely the one to choose. ' Jean-Jacques Hublins, Nature. 403:364 27 January 2000. 
Lonergan, Bernard J F, and Robert M. Doran, Frederick E. Crowe (eds), Verbum : Word and Idea in Aquinas (Collected Works of Bernard Lonergan volume 2) , University of Toronto Press 1997 Jacket: 'Verbum is a product of Lonergan's eleven years of study of the thought of Thomas Aquinas. The work is considered by many to be a breakthrough in the history of Lonergan's theology ... . Here he interprets aspects in the writing of Aquinas relevant to trinitarian theory and, as in most of Lonergan's work, one of the principal aims is to assist the reader in the search to understand the workings of the human mind.' 
Lonergan, Bernard J F, and Michael G Shields (translator), Robert M Doran & H Daniel Monsour (editors), The Triune God: Systematics, University of Toronto press 2007 Translated from De Deo Trino: Pars systematica (1964) by Michael G Shields. Amazon Product Description 'Buried for more than forty years in a Latin text written for seminarian students at the Gregorian University in Rome, Bernard Lonergan's 1964 masterpiece of systematic-theological writing, De Deo trino: Pars systematica, is only now being published in an edition that includes the original Latin along with an exact and literal translation. De Deo trino , or The Triune God, is the third great installment on one particular strand in trinitarian theology, namely, the tradition that appeals to a psychological analogy for understanding trinitarian processions and relations. The analogy dates back to St Augustine but was significantly developed by St Thomas Aquinas. Lonergan advances it to a new level of sophistication by rooting it in his own highly nuanced cognitional theory and in his early position on decision and love. Suggestions for a further development of the analogy appear in Lonergan's late work, but these cannot be understood and implemented without working through this volume. This is truly one of the great masterpieces in the history of systematic theology, perhaps even the greatest of all time.' 
Misner, Charles W, and Kip S Thorne, John Archibald Wheeler, Gravitation, Freeman 1973 Jacket: 'Einstein's description of gravitation as curvature of spacetime led directly to that greatest of all predictions of his theory, that the universe itself is dynamic. Physics still has far to go to come to terms with this amazing fact and what it means for man and his relation to the universe. John Archibald Wheeler. . . . this is a book on Einstein's theory of gravity. . . . ' 
Roll-Hansen, Nils, The Lysenko Effect: The Politics of Science, Humanity Books 2004 Jacket review: 'This is a superb account of Lysenko's rise to power and the circumstances that led to the destruction of classical genetics in the USSR. Roll-Hansen brilliiiantly leads the reader through the step-by-step process by which personal ambition, state ideology, legitimate scientific division, appeasement, and a curious mixture of legitimate and bogus science could get out of hand. Roll-Hansen's marshalling of evidence is magnificent and scholarly. He discusses the science at issue and the quality of experimentation as well as the toxic effects of ideological thinking on both sides of the debate in its earlier phases. This fresh look at a tormented event in the history of science is free of the Cold War perspectives that have dominated earlier studies of Lysenkoism. This is a major contribution to the history of science.' Elof Axel Carson 
Aquinas 160 Summa: I 27 1 Is there procession in God? 'Our Lord says, "From God I proceeded" (Jn. 8:42).' back
Aquinas 167 I:28:3: Whether the relations in God are really distinguished from each other? 'I answer that, The attributing of anything to another involves the attribution likewise of whatever is contained in it. So when "man" is attributed to anyone, a rational nature is likewise attributed to him. The idea of relation, however, necessarily means regard of one to another, according as one is relatively opposed to another. So as in God there is a real relation (1), there must also be a real opposition. The very nature of relative opposition includes distinction. Hence, there must be real distinction in God, not, indeed, according to that which is absolute--namely, essence, wherein there is supreme unity and simplicity--but according to that which is relative.' back
Exodus 20:1-17 Exodus 20:1 - 20:17 KJV ' 1 And God spake all these words, saying, 2 I am the LORD thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. 3 Thou shalt have no other gods before me. . . . ' back
Fall of Man - Wikipedia Fall of Man - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia 'In Christian doctrine, the fall of man, or simply the fall, was the transition of the first humans from a state of innocent obedience to God to a state of guilty disobedience to God. Though not named in the Bible, the concept for the Fall comes from Genesis chapter 3. Adam and Eve live at first with God in a paradise, but the serpent tempts them into eating the fruit from the tree of knowledge of good and evil, which God forbade. After doing so they become ashamed of their nakedness and God consequently expelled them from paradise. Many Christian denominations believe that the fall corrupted the entire natural world, including human nature, causing people to be born into original sin, a state from which they cannot attain eternal life without the gracious intervention of God.' back
Holy Spirit - Wikipedia Holy Spirit - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia 'Holy Spirit is a term introduced in English translations of the Hebrew Bible, but understood differently in the main Abrahamic religions. While the general concept of a "Spirit" that permeates the cosmos has been used in various religions (e.g. Brahman in Hinduism and Tao in Taoism), the term Holy Spirit specifically refers to the beliefs held in the Abrahamic religions.' back
John McHugh Mystery | Catholic Encyclopedia ' The Old-Testament versions use the word mysterion as an equivalent for the Hebrew sôd, "secret" (Proverbs 20:19; Judith 2:2; Sirach 22:27; 2 Maccabees 13:21). In the New Testament the word mystery is applied ordinarily to the sublime revelation of the Gospel (Matthew 13:11; Colossians 2:2; 1 Timothy 3:9; 1 Corinthians 15:51), and to the Incarnation and life of the Saviour and His manifestation by the preaching of the Apostles (Romans 16:25; Ephesians 3:4; 6:19; Colossians 1:26; 4:3). . . . In its strict sense a mystery is a supernatural truth, one that of its very nature lies above the finite intelligence.' back
Joseph Sollier: Redemption Redemption | Catholic Encyclopedia 'The restoration of man from the bondage of sin to the liberty of the children of God through the satisfactions and merits of Christ.' back
Logos (Christianity) - Wikipedia Logos (Christianity) - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia 'In Christology, the conception that the Christ is the Logos (Λόγος, the Greek for "word", "discourse" or "reason") has been important in establishing the doctrine of the divinity of Jesus Christ and his position as God the Son in the Trinity as set forth in the Chalcedonian Creed. The conception derives from the opening of the Gospel of John, commonly translated into English as: "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God." In the original Greek, Logos (λόγος) is used for "Word," and in theological discourse, this is often left untranslated.' back
Mythology - Wikipedia Mythology - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia 'The term mythology can refer either to the study of myths, or to a body or collection of myths. As examples, comparative mythology is the study of connections between myths from different cultures, whereas Greek mythology is the body of myths from ancient Greece. In the field of folkloristics, a myth is defined as a sacred narrative explaining how the world and humankind came to be in their present form. Many scholars in other fields use the term "myth" in somewhat different ways. In a very broad sense, the word can refer to any story originating within traditions. back
Public International Law - Wikipedia Public International Law - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia 'Public international law concerns the structure and conduct of sovereign states; analogous entities, such as the Holy See; and intergovernmental organizations. To a lesser degree, international law also may affect multinational corporations and individuals, an impact increasingly evolving beyond domestic legal interpretation and enforcement. Public international law has increased in use and importance vastly over the twentieth century, due to the increase in global trade, environmental deterioration on a worldwide scale, awareness of human rights violations, rapid and vast increases in international transportation and a boom in global communications.' back
Social evolution - Wikipedia Social evolution - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia 'Social evolution is a subdiscipline of evolutionary biology that is concerned with social behaviors that have fitness consequences for individuals other than the actor. Social behaviors can be categorized according to the fitness consequences they entail for the actor and recipient.' back
Ten Commandments - Wikipedia Ten Commandments - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia 'The Ten Commandments, also known as the Decalogue (Greek: δεκάλογος), are a set of biblical principles relating to ethics and worship, which play a fundamental role in Judaism and most forms of Christianity. They include instructions to worship only God and to keep the Sabbath, and prohibitions against idolatry, blasphemy, murder, theft, and adultery. Different groups follow slightly different traditions for interpreting and numbering them.' back is maintained by The Theology Company Proprietary Limited ACN 097 887 075 ABN 74 097 887 075 Copyright 2000-2018 © Jeffrey Nicholls