God’s Household Management: Economy of the Trinity

God’s Household Management

Traditionally, there have been two ways to look at the Trinity, theologically and economically.  By “economically,” we delve back into the Greek origin of the word, Oikonomia, which is a fusion of two words, “house” and “manage,” thus “household management.”  This description of the function actually derived etymologically from the descriptive title of the person, the household manager or steward.  What a great way to describe God; reminds me of the Good Shepherd, but applied to the cosmic family home.

Theologically, of course, we can get into all the processions of the Son from the Father and the Spirit from the Son and Father, the relations of the Father to the Son and Son to the Father, and the Father and Son to the Spirit and the Spirit to the Father and Son, but, to be honest, this leaves me more confused than concerned, more intellectually bewildered and bemused than viscerally moved to awe and love.  So, while it is an important tool to explain, apologetically, the inner mystery life of the Trinity, other than enabling us to know that these three persons are the ultimate loving “family,”[1] that template and unit upon with all others are patterned and built, practically speaking, I am much more interested about how they “expanded” the family unit and determined to spread existence, spread love, spread life, spread relationships “beyond” themselves to all creation.

This economy, of course, is the story of creation, of the relation of God outside Himself with creation and in particular, with humankind, from our being brought into self-reflective existence, through our willful decision that God was not as important to us as we were to ourselves, to His acknowledgement of our redefinition of our relationship and our realization of the lie of which we had partaken and been a part and our acknowledgement of our change in status, our seeing through the lie we had been told and told ourselves and each other which was physically reflected in our realizing our nakedness before God and ourselves, and God’s providential plan of salvation initiated at the very onset of our reluctant repentance before Him, a plan which continues to this very day in both “macroly,” in the totality of creation, of the world and minimally, in the lives of each of us and will continue until its completion, its summation and evaluation in each of us at the end of time.

[1] It has been wisely pointed out that our words, our concepts, even our mental constructs concerning God are but very feeble kindergarten scribbling attempting to capture the beauty of the universe.  Thus, when I use words that are really, really an analogical stretch, I will try to place them in quotes so that I know they are only a humbling attempt of description and not a true reflection, even darkly, of the glorious reality that is.

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11 thoughts on “God’s Household Management: Economy of the Trinity”

  1. The Divine Trinity.

    The New Testament speaks of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Many have understood this to mean that God is in three Divine Persons, each of whom is infinite and eternal, and each of whom is God and Lord. But the New Testament does not speak of Persons in God at all, much less of three Divine Persons existing from eternity.
    It is admitted by many that the question of how three persons make one God is past all human understanding. And because of this mystery many people do not think deeply about God, believing that their minds are not capable of entering into such thought.
    What does Swedenborg teach concerning the Divine Trinity?
    From what has gone before in this lecture it can be seen that the Father, the one infinite and eternal God, is not one Divine Person and the Son another Divine Person. but that they are one. as soul and body are one. The Son. the Divine Human, is the Divine Body, and the Father is the Divine Soul in that Divine Bodv. Even as the soul and body of a man are not two people, but one person, so the Father and the Son, the Divine and the Divine Human of the Lord are one Divine Person.
    But what then of the Holy Spirit?
    Swedenborg teaches that the Holy Spirit is the Lord’s own Divine Spirit going forth from Him to men and angels. It is the Divine Love and Wisdom proceeding out of the Divine Human of the Lord to work the regeneration and salvation of mankind. This can be seen perfectly represented in the Gospel of .John:

    “And when He had said this. He breathed on them and said. Receive ye the Holy Spirit.” (John 20:22)

    This was said after the Lord’s Resurrection. The Holy Spirit is there represented as the Breath of the Lord. His Breath is His Divine Truth going forth from Himself to men. Swedenborg calls this the Divine Proceeding, or, the Divine Operation.
    That the Holy Spirit is the Divine proceeding from the glorified Human of the Lord is also taught in these passages from the New Testament: “But this He spake of the Spirit, which they that believe on Him should receive: for the Holy Ghost was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified.” (John 7:39.) The original Greek reads “The Holy Spirit was not yet, because that Jesus was not yet glorified.”

    “It is expedient for you that I go away; for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come to you; but if I depart, I will send Him unto you.” (John 16:7.)

    After the Lord was glorified, that is, after His Human was made Divine, the Comforter, the Holy Spirit, which leads men into all truth, could come to men, because through the Divine Human the Divine Good and Truth can inflow into our minds.
    The conclusion therefore is that the Divine Trinity is not a Trinity of Persons, but that it is a Trinity of essentials in the one Divine Person, our Lord Jesus Christ. The Father is the Divine itself, present in Him as the Soul. The Son is the Divine Human, which is the Body of that Divine Soul, and the Holy Spirit is the Divine Operation, the Divine Good and Truth proceeding from God to men.
    This is taught also by Paul, in these words concerning the Lord:

    “For in Him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily.” (Col. 2:9.)

    If you see God as one Divine Person, one Divine Man, and the Trinity in Him as Soul, Body and Proceeding, you will have an understandable idea of God and of the Divine Trinity in Him. This teaching is that which is given in the Old Testament and in the New Testament. It is the Supreme Truth concerning the Lord.
    This truth may be summarized thus: That the Lord Jesus Christ is the one God of heaven and earth, that He is Jehovah, the Lord from eternity, that He is the Creator from eternity, that He is the Redeemer in time, that He is the regenerator into eternity, and thus that He is at the same time the Father, and the Son and the Holy Spirit.
    The Lord Jesus Christ is our God. There is no other. To Him we owe all that is good and all that is true. All power in heaven and on earth is His. To Him alone should we pray. To Him alone should be our worship, our love, and the service of our lives.

    1. What you have proposed is not the belief nor dogma of the Catholic Church. The Catechism of the Catholic Church puts it as follows:
      The dogma of the Holy Trinity

      253 The Trinity is One. We do not confess three Gods, but one God in three persons, the “consubstantial Trinity”.83 The divine persons do not share the one divinity among themselves but each of them is God whole and entire: “The Father is that which the Son is, the Son that which the Father is, the Father and the Son that which the Holy Spirit is, i.e. by nature one God.”84 In the words of the Fourth Lateran Council (1215), “Each of the persons is that supreme reality, viz., the divine substance, essence or nature.”85

      254 The divine persons are really distinct from one another. “God is one but not solitary.”86 “Father”, “Son”, “Holy Spirit” are not simply names designating modalities of the divine being, for they are really distinct from one another: “He is not the Father who is the Son, nor is the Son he who is the Father, nor is the Holy Spirit he who is the Father or the Son.”87 They are distinct from one another in their relations of origin: “It is the Father who generates, the Son who is begotten, and the Holy Spirit who proceeds.”88 The divine Unity is Triune.

      255 The divine persons are relative to one another. Because it does not divide the divine unity, the real distinction of the persons from one another resides solely in the relationships which relate them to one another: “In the relational names of the persons the Father is related to the Son, the Son to the Father, and the Holy Spirit to both. While they are called three persons in view of their relations, we believe in one nature or substance.”89 Indeed “everything (in them) is one where there is no opposition of relationship.”90 “Because of that unity the Father is wholly in the Son and wholly in the Holy Spirit; the Son is wholly in the Father and wholly in the Holy Spirit; the Holy Spirit is wholly in the Father and wholly in the Son.”91

      I hope this clarifies the position of the Church and my position.

      1. Jesus is Jehovah
        Posted on May 18, 2008 by thegodguy

        One of the most harmful ideas a Christian can have is that the Holy Trinity represents three persons, rather than three attributes of one Divine Person (like omniscience, omnipotence and omnipresence).

        Under this “polytheistic” concept the idea of Salvation becomes ludicrous. It portrays that God the Father became utterly disgusted with the human race but that His Son, after suffering on the cross for the sake of humankind, so impressed Him with compassion that He had second thoughts. Of course, this means the Heavenly Father only really loved His Son and humans are still to be considered as worthless crap. This divine shallowness makes it hard to reconcile how God can be infinite love and infinite wisdom.

        This idea of the Trinity gets even worse when we consider that technically, Jesus saves no one, but that Jehovah God sends the Holy Spirit to do the actual saving. So worshiping God is tricky business. We mortals can easily make the mistake of approaching the wrong God at the wrong time. Such a spiritual faux pas can land us into eternal trouble (yes, people with good hearts can be damned on technicalities).

        This confusing matter is cleared up when a person comes to understand that the stories of Scripture offer three distinct levels of meaning, each containing deeper interpretations of God’s revealed truth. But since it is extremely difficult to share with you entirely new levels of interpretation (quantum language) within a short post, I can happily say that even a careful inspection of the literal (lowest) meaning of the Holy Word verifies that there is only One God. In other words, it is Jehovah God who is eternally concerned for humankind and who is our redeemer and savior:

        I will make mention of mercies of Jehovah; He hath requited them according to His mercies, and according to the multitude of His mercies; and He became their Saviour. In all their affliction He was afflicted, and the angel of His faces saved them; in His love and in his pity He redeemed them. (Isaiah 63:7-9)

        In the amazing theological work of Emanuel Swedenborg, entitled the Apocalypse Revealed (pages 405-7) he offers several other biblical quotes that point to the idea that Jehovah Himself would come into the world and assume the Human form as our visible Savior. Here are a few:

        It shall be said in that day, Lo, This is our God, whom we have waited for, that He may free us; This is Jehovah, whom we have waited for; let us exult and rejoice in His salvation. (Isaiah, 25:9)

        Am I not Jehovah? and there is no God else besides Me; a just God and a Savior, there is none besides Me. (Isaiah, 45:21,22)

        Unto us a Boy is born, unto us a Son is given, whose name is Wonderful, Counsellor, God, Hero, the Father of eternity, the Prince of peace. (Isaiah, 9:6)

        Philip said unto Jesus, Show us the Father; Jesus said unto him, He that seeth Me seeth the Father; how sayest thou than, show us the Father? Believest thou not that I am in the Father and the Father in Me? Believe Me that I am in the Father and the Father in Me. (John, 14:8-11)

        Thankfully, most worshippers do not bother with the mind-numbing details of how their particular Church denomination explains the Holy Trinity. This spares many Christians from falling into false doctrines.

        But should you be of an inquisitive mind, I invite you to ask your priest or minister to give you the exact and full details of how God, under the Trinitarian Doctrine, will save you. Since your salvation is at stake, DEMAND AN ANSWER. Then you be the judge of whether it satisfies Jehovah God’s first commandment.

        If they tell you that faith in Jesus overrides following the ten commandments, then get the heck out of there!

        If you would like more information on this topic see my two previous posts entitled, The Divine Rope-A-Dope, and Physics And The Easter Miracle.

    2. God, may You open our eyes and hearts to Your Truth.

      Edward Thegodguy, I am under no illusion that I have the background or depth to do adequate justice to your well considered positions which have been honed in books and blogs over many years.

      I will, however, with God’s help and direction, lay out my understanding of the Catholic belief.

      First, there are many things on which we seem to agree, correct me if I am wrong: the existence of God, that God is one and possesses the ultimate of all attributes, e.g. omniscience, omnipotence, omnipresence. We agree to the existence of a spiritual plane of reality, including angels. We also agree that Jesus is God-Man, that He lived, ministered, was crucified and rose from the dead. We also agree that Jesus teaches us who God is, a personal God. Finally, we agree that we pray to God. We explain each of these realities differently, but we accept them as fact.

      Concerning the Trinity, “the mystery of the Most Holy Trinity is the central mystery of Christian faith and life. It is the mystery of God in himself. It is therefore the source of all the other mysteries of faith, the light that enlightens them. It is the most fundamental and essential teaching in the ‘hierarchy of the truths of faith.’ The whole history of salvation is identical with the history of the way and the means by which the one true God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, reveals himself to men ‘and reconciles and unites with himself those who turn away from sin.’” (CCC, 234)

      I consider the Trinity one of the most beautiful, inspiring and edifying mysteries of the faith. It is beautiful that God is completely involved in His creation to the ultimate extent of coming and making their home is each of our hearts. [Jn 14:23] It is awe-inspiring that God is both one reality, one being and at the same time, three persons. It is edifying that God based the universe on relationships of Love.

      “Jesus himself affirms that God is ‘the one Lord’ whom you must love “with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.” [Mk 12:29-30] At the same time Jesus gives us to understand that he himself is “the Lord.”[Mk 12:35-37] To confess that Jesus is Lord is distinctive of Christian faith. This is not contrary to belief in the One God. Nor does believing in the Holy Spirit as “Lord and giver of life” introduce any division into the One God.” (CCC, 202.)

      “In the Greek translation of the Old Testament, the ineffable Hebrew name YHWH, by which God revealed himself to Moses, [Ex 3:14] is rendered as Kyrios, ‘Lord.’ From then on, ‘Lord’ becomes the more usual name by which to indicate the divinity of Israel’s God. The New Testament uses this full sense of the title ‘Lord’ both for the Father and—what is new—for Jesus, who is thereby recognized as God Himself. [1 Cor 2:8]” (CCC, 446.)

      “One cannot believe in Jesus Christ without sharing in his Spirit. It is the Holy Spirit who reveals to men who Jesus is. For ‘no one can say ‘Jesus is Lord,’ except by the Holy Spirit,’ [1 Cor 12:3] who ‘searches everything, even the depths of God…. No one comprehends the thoughts of God, except the Spirit of God.’ [1 Cor 2:10-11] Only God knows God completely: we believe in the Holy Spirit because he is God.” (CCC, 152.)

      “God transcends all creatures. We must therefore continually purify our language of everything in it that is limited, image-bound or imperfect, if we are not to confuse our image of God — ‘the inexpressible, the incomprehensible, the invisible, the ungraspable’ — with our human representations. [Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom, Anaphora.] Our human words always fall short of the mystery of God.” (CCC, 42.)

      The Holy Trinity is three persons who are one Divine Being, God. The fact that I cannot fully understand this does not really disturb me. Theologians have attempted to come to grips with this mystery over the centuries with varying success. Augustine and Aquinas, among others, have given us insights into this mystery. But it is still a mystery. The Catholic Church, under the guidance of the Spirit, has defined it and given it to us in the form of the Creeds which address some of the mystery, but certainly not all. That my limited capacity is not able to expound it satisfactorily is, to His glory, something which I must trust God to rectify. I do, indeed, believe that God reconciles in himself his reality with the First Commandment.

      “The Trinity is a mystery of faith in the strict sense, one of the ‘mysteries that are hidden in God, which can never be known unless they are revealed by God.’ To be sure, God has left traces of his Trinitarian being in his work of creation and in his Revelation throughout the Old Testament. But his inmost Being as Holy Trinity is a mystery that is inaccessible to reason alone or even to Israel’s faith before the Incarnation of God’s Son and the sending of the Holy Spirit.” (CCC, 237, emphasis added)

      Salvation is, of course, monotheistic, one God, one Plan, worked out by the three Persons. Salvation by the Trinity is a working out of the Mercy of God in history, due to His great love of us. The Father put into motion from the moment of our fall, a plan known by Him from eternity in which His Word, the Father’s perfect Image, His only-begotten Son, would become man and manifest God’s Love and Mercy to the World through the working of the Holy Spirit.
      “God is eternal blessedness, undying life, unfading light. God is love: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. God freely wills to communicate the glory of his blessed life. Such is the ‘plan of his loving kindness,’ conceived by the Father before the foundation of the world, in his beloved Son: ‘He destined us in love to be his sons’ and ‘to be conformed to the image of his Son,’ through ‘the spirit of sonship.’ [Eph 1:4-5, 9; Rom 8:15, 29] This plan is a ‘grace [which] was given to us in Christ Jesus before the ages began,’ stemming immediately from Trinitarian love. [2 Tim 1:9-10] It unfolds in the work of creation, the whole history of salvation after the fall, and the missions of the Son and the Spirit, which are continued in the mission of the Church.” [CCC, 257]

      “The whole divine economy is the common work of the three divine persons. For as the Trinity has only one and the same nature, so too does it have only one and the same operation: ‘The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit are not three principles of creation but one principle.’ However each divine person performs the common work according to his unique personal property. Thus the Church confesses, following the New Testament, ‘one God and Father from whom all things are, and one Lord Jesus Christ, through whom all things are, and one Holy Spirit in whom all things are.’ It is above all the divine missions of the Son’s Incarnation and the gift of the Holy Spirit that show forth the properties of the divine persons.” [CCC, 258]

      “Being a work at once common and personal, the whole divine economy makes known both what is proper to the divine persons and their one divine nature. Hence the whole Christian life is a communion with each of the divine persons, without in any way separating them. Everyone who glorifies the Father does so through the Son in the Holy Spirit; everyone who follows Christ does so because the Father draws him and the Spirit moves him.” [CCC, 259]

      The Father has no “second thoughts.” As was foretold throughout Scripture and by Jesus himself during His lifetime, it was by His obedience to the Father, His being totally unwavering in His commitment to Truth, His personal demonstration of the True Way, which lead to Him to face His crucifixion, and ultimately demonstrate to us the reality of Himself as Life, the Life in the Father. So, reconciling infinite Love and Wisdom is this personal demonstration throughout the history of mankind.

      Jesus renews the bond broken in Eden with God within Himself as both God and Man. Thus He does save us from the sin and death, not by abrogating the Law and the Prophets, but by fulfilling them in Himself, His new Law of Love, of forgiveness, of mercy, of second and 70×7 chances to get our wills aligned with the will of God as His always, to be obedient to that will as He was, even unto death, death on the cross.

      The Holy Spirit speaks to us of Jesus. “‘No one comprehends the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God.’[1 Cor 2:11] Now God’s Spirit, who reveals God, makes known to us Christ, his Word, his living Utterance, but the Spirit does not speak of himself. The Spirit who ‘has spoken through the prophets’ makes us hear the Father’s Word, but we do not hear the Spirit himself. We know him only in the movement by which he reveals the Word to us and disposes us to welcome him in faith. The Spirit of truth who ‘unveils’ Christ [Jn 15:26, Jn 14:26, 1 Cor 12:3] to us ‘will not speak on his own.’ [Jn 16: 13-14] Such properly divine self–effacement explains why ‘the world cannot receive [him], because it neither sees him nor knows him,’ while those who believe in Christ know the Spirit because he dwells with them.[ Jn 14:17]” (CCC, 687)

      The Trinity is one; approaching one is approaching all. There is no spiritual faux pas in approaching God nor any damnation in relating to Goodness.

      You mentioned that “Scripture offer three distinct levels of meaning, each containing deeper interpretations of God’s revealed truth.” Catholics, too, have various levels of interpretation: “According to an ancient tradition, one can distinguish between two senses of Scripture: the literal and the spiritual, the latter being subdivided into the allegorical, moral, and anagogical senses. The profound concordance of the four senses guarantees all its richness to the living reading of Scripture in the Church.” (CCC, 115) These levels are apparent and available to all.
      The literal is conveyed by the words of Scripture and discovered by exegesis, following the rules of sound interpretation (CCC, 116): (a) attending to “the content and unity of the whole Scripture…,a unity by reason of the unity of God’s plan;” (b) reading Scripture “within “the living Tradition of the whole Church…, the living memorial of God’s Word, and it is the Holy Spirit who gives her the spiritual interpretation of the Scripture;” and (c) attending to “the analogy of faith, the coherence of the truths of faith among themselves and within the whole plan of Revelation.” (CCC, 112-114).

      The allegorical refers to “a more profound understanding of events by recognizing their significance in Christ; thus the crossing of the Red Sea is a sign or type of Christ’s victory and also of Christian Baptism.” (CCC, 117.1)

      The moral sense guides us; “Scripture ought to lead us to act justly. As St. Paul says, they were written ‘for our instruction.’” [1 Cor 10:11; cf. Heb 3-4:11] (CCC, 117.2)
      “The anagogical sense (Greek: anagoge, “leading”) enables us to view realities and events in terms of their eternal significance, leading us toward our true homeland: thus the Church on earth is a sign of the heavenly Jerusalem.” [Rev 21:1-22:5]. (CCC, 117.3)

      There are many references to the interaction of the three persons in the Gospels; indeed, there are 145 references in the Gospels by Jesus to his Father, and 36 separate references by Jesus to our relation to the Father. In addition, there are also 50 references to the Holy Spirit . Since Jesus was born and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to my voice [Jn 18:37], and since he was continually trying to teach his followers about himself, the Father and the Spirit in plain language, in parables they could understand, even taking time to explain more fully to his disciples, He means what He says: that is that there is a Father who is separate from Him and to whom he prays, to whom He is constantly referring and about whom He teaches us. There is a Spirit who appears as a dove at His baptism, sends Him out into the desert to be tempted, is with Him throughout His public ministry, is commended by Him to His Father as He is dying.

      “Jesus is Christ, ‘anointed,’ because the Spirit is his anointing, and everything that occurs from the Incarnation on derives from this fullness. [Jn 3:34] When Christ is finally glorified, [Jn 7:39] he can in turn send the Spirit from his place with the Father to those who believe in him: he communicates to them his glory, [Jn 17:22] that is, the Holy Spirit who glorifies him. [Jn 16:14] From that time on, this joint mission will be manifested in the children adopted by the Father in the Body of his Son: the mission of the Spirit of adoption is to unite them to Christ and make them live in him.” (CCC, 690)

      “Only the divine identity of Jesus’ person can justify so absolute a claim as ‘He who is not with me is against me’; and his saying that there was in him ‘something greater than Jonah,… greater than Solomon,’ something ‘greater than the Temple’; his reminder that David had called the Messiah his Lord, [Mt 12:6, 30, 36, 37, 41–42.] and his affirmations, ‘Before Abraham was, I AM’; and even ‘I and the Father are one.’” [Jn 8:58; 10:30.] (CCC, 590) This may be a simplistic way of looking at it but to me, the Father, Son, and Spirit are three person who share the same divine substance, essence, nature, life, just like you and I share the same nature and life but are different persons.

      “The whole divine economy is the common work of the three divine persons. For as the Trinity has only one and the same nature, so too does it have only one and the same operation: ‘The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit are not three principles of creation but one principle.’ [Council of Florence (1442; Council of Constantinople II (553)] However each divine person performs the common work according to his unique personal property. Thus the Church confesses, following the New Testament, “one God and Father from whom all things are, and one Lord Jesus Christ, through whom all things are, and one Holy Spirit in whom all things are.” [Council of Constantinople II] It is above all the divine missions of the Son’s Incarnation and the gift of the Holy Spirit that show forth the properties of the divine persons.” (CCC, 258)

      Finally, as to the Church on ten commandments, “the Council of Trent teaches that the Ten Commandments are obligatory for Christians and that the justified man is still bound to keep them; the Second Vatican Council confirms: ‘The bishops, successors of the apostles, receive from the Lord… the mission of teaching all peoples, and of preaching the Gospel to every creature, so that all men may attain salvation through faith, Baptism and the observance of the Commandments.’” (CCC, 2068, emphasis added) “Since they express man’s fundamental duties towards God and towards his neighbor, the Ten Commandments reveal, in their primordial content, grave obligations. They are fundamentally immutable, and they oblige always and everywhere. No one can dispense from them. The Ten Commandments are engraved by God in the human heart.” (CCC, 2072) Indeed, Jesus himself, If you wish to enter into life, keep the commandments [Mt 19:17], recounts them one by one [Mt 19: 18-19] and states: Therefore, whoever breaks one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do so will be called least in the kingdom of heaven. But whoever obeys and teaches these commandments will be called greatest in the kingdom of heaven. [Mt 5:19] Furthermone, in His “but I say to you” statements in the Sermon on the Mount, expands the scope of the commandments [Mt 5:21-48] beyond even what was thought at the time, e.g. “‘You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I say to you, everyone who looks at a woman with lust has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” [Mt 5:27-28]

      As I wrote at the beginning, I may not have explained this to your satisfaction, but these beliefs have been hammered out over the centuries by men wiser and holier than I.

      Thomas Merton writes: “Ideas and words are not the food of intelligence, but truth. And not an abstract truth that feeds the mind alone. The Truth that a spiritual man seeks is the whole Truth, reality, existence and essence together, something that can be embraces and loved, something that can sustain the homage and the service of our actions: more than a thing: persons, or a Person. Him above all Whose essence is to exist. God. Christ, the Incarnate Word, is the Book of Life in Whom we read God.” [Thoughts in Solitude (New York; Farrar, Straus and Cudahy, Inc.; 1958), 63-64]

      Like Merton, I believe in these doctrines, and particularly in the mystery of the Trinity, not because of the explanations of words but because of the experience of my heart, my soul, my self, my being. Indeed, the Spirit, the Father and Jesus do come and make their home with me. That is the rock upon which my house is built.

  2. Totally agree. Col 1:19; 2:9-10. But that doesn’t obviate the Father to whom He prayed and who raised Him from the dead nor the Spirit whom he sent to be our advocate and to remind us of all he spoke and did.

    1. Knowledge respecting God only possible by Revelation

      As to the nature and character of the one God, nations and peoples have strayed and are still straying into diverse opinions; for many reasons. The first is, that there can be no knowledge respecting God, and consequent acknowledgment of God, except by revelation; and no knowledge and consequent acknowledgment of the Lord, that in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily, except from the Word, which is the crown of revelations. But by revelation given man can approach and receive influx from God, and so from natural become spiritual; and a primeval revelation pervaded the whole world. But the natural man perverted it, in many ways; whence the differences, dissensions, heresies, and schisms of religions…. Human reason, however, if it will, may perceive or conclude that there is a God, and that He is one. This truth it can confirm by innumerable things in the visible world. For the universe is as a theatre on which the testimony that there is a God, and that He is one, is continually set forth. (TCR n. 11, 12)

    2. God is One

      All the principles of human reason unite and as it were concentre in this, that there is one God, the Creator of the universe. A man who has reason, therefore, from a common attribute of his understanding, does not and cannot think otherwise. Say to any one of sound reason that there are two Creators of the universe, and you will find an aversion to you on account of it—and perhaps from the bare sound of the words in the ear. It is evident from this that all the principles of human reason unite and as it were concentre in the idea that God is one. There are two reasons why this is so. First, because the very faculty of thinking rationally, in itself considered, is not man’s but is God’s in him; upon that faculty human reason, as to the common attribute, depends; and this common attribute causes it to see this, as of itself. Second, because by means of that faculty man either is in the light of heaven, or derives thence the common principle of his thought; and the universal principle of the light of heaven is, that God is one. It is otherwise if by that faculty a man has perverted the lower principles of the understanding; he, it is true, has ability by that faculty, but through the intorsion of the lower principles, he turns it in another direction, whereby his reason becomes unsound. (DLW n. 23)

      Who that has sound reason does not perceive that the Divine is not divisible, and that there is not a plurality of Infinite, Uncreate, Omnipotent beings,—and thus, Gods? If another, who has no reason, shall say that several Infinite, Uncreate, Omnipotent beings—therefore Gods,—are possible, if. only they have one and the same essence; and that through this there is one Infinite, Uncreate, Omnipotent being and God:—Is not one and the same essence, the same one? and the same one cannot be several. If it shall be said that one is from the other:—Then he that is from the other is not God in himself; and yet God, from whom all things ark is God in Himself. (ibid. n. 27)

      He who in faith acknowledges and in heart worships one God is in the communion of saints on earth, and in the communion of angels in the heavens. They are called communions, and are so, because they are in one God and one God is in them. They are also in conjunction with the whole angelic heaven, and I might venture to affirm with all and each of the angels there; for they all are as the children and descendants of one father, whose minds, manners, and faces are resemblant, so that they mutually recognize each other. The angelic heaven is harmoniously arranged in societies, according to all the varieties of the love of good; which varieties all tend to one most universal love, which is love to God. From this love they who in faith acknowledge and in heart worship one God, the Creator of the universe, and at the same time the Redeemer and Regenerator, are all propagated. (TCR n. 15)

      God is very Man

      In all the heavens there is no other idea of God than of a Man. The reason is, that heaven is a Man in form, in whole and in part, and the Divine which is with the angels constitutes heaven, and thought proceeds according to the form of heaven. It is therefore impossible for the angels to think otherwise of God. Hence it is that all those in the world who are in conjunction with heaven think of God in like manner, when they think interiorly within themselves, or in their spirit. It is from the fact that God is Man that all angels and all spirits are men in perfect form. The form of heaven effects this, which in its greatest and in its least parts is like itself. It is known from Gen. i. 26, 27, that men were created after the image and likeness of God; and also that God was seen as a Man by Abraham and others. (DLW n. 11)

      If any one thinks of the very Divine without the idea of a Divine Man, he thinks indeterminately,—and an indeterminate idea is no idea,— or he forms a conception of the Divine from the visible universe without end, or with an end in darkness, which conception conjoins itself with that of the worshippers of nature,— even falls into nature, and so becomes no conception. [of God]. It is evident that thence there would be no conjunction with the Divine, by faith nor by love. All conjunction requires an object; and the conjunction is according to the character of the object. Hence it is that the Lord as to the Divine Human is called the Mediator, and the Intercessor; but He mediates and intercedes with Himself. It is evident from the Lord’s words in John that the very Divine cannot by any conception be apprehended:—”No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, He hath manifested Him” (i. 18); and again, “Ye have neither heard the Father’s voice al any time, nor seen His shape” (v. 37). Yet, which is remarkable, all who think of God from themselves, or from the flesh, think of Him indeterminately, that is, without any definite idea; but those who think of God not from them­selves, nor from the flesh, but from the spirit, think of Him determinately; that is, they present to themselves a conception of the Divine under the human form. The angels in heaven thus think of the Divine; and thus the wise Ancients thought, to whom when the very Divine appeared He appeared as a Divine Man. (AC n. 8705)

      1. I regret that I will not be able to continue this conversation. I am in the midst of completing two assignment for my course and must devote my time to those if I am to finish in time. I will keep you in my prayers. Please keep me in yours.

  3. I do, however, wish to thank you very much for your very stimulating and challenging discussion. I was unaware of the Swedenborgian position on the Trinity and it forced me to clarify my own position. Excellent meditations.
    God Bless you and yours and enjoy the holiday.

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