I am often not academic at all when it comes to theology, though I am sometimes accused of being so. The reason is that I wonder whether academic theologians have not caused more harm than good. It seems to me that believers would get much closer to the truth if they read the Bible for themselves in simple terms and accepting the most abundant evidence of it as established truth on any topic.
I wonder about the academics because it was so at the time of Christ that the academics teamed with church leaders and the conservatives (Pharisees) to confuse Jews about Christ, even when simple Romans could easily sense that there was more to Christ than simply another man. And when I listen to trinitarian academics, they sometimes sound like political spin doctors. It is like listening to Jane Psaki. So, in my discussions with trinitarians, I spend time pointing out ‘how they are thinking’ because they need a paradigm shift. When I do that, some get offended, because I prove that the thinking is wrong. That sounds to many like I am ridiculing, which I am not trying to do.
Here is how. As you stated trinitarian thinking was born out of the urge to reconcile a myriad of otherwise conflicting understandings of deity. Thus, to date the trinitarian spirit is still in that mode.
Three points here.
- Trinitarian thinking makes it necessary to construct and live with contradicting positions which are of man’s own making. It is one thing to live with apparently contradicting points that the Bible gives you. It is totally another thing to live with contradicting points that human thinking has given you. You know what I am talking about. Ask a trinitarian theologian to describe the One God of the Bible. Almost invariably, they go through the same steps. A. Prove that the Father is God, B. Prove that the Son is God, C. Prove that the Spirit is God. (Oops, that’s three gods, what’s the solution) D. Prove philosophically that three is equal to one. One theologian even said, one and three should not be looked at mathematically. How can one and three placed in an equation (1+1+1=1) be not a mathematical expression, albeit a flawed one? Numbers are mathematical and if the doctrine does not need numbers, then it should not include numbers. The contradiction there cannot be resolved, people learn to live with it and explain it away as mystery. To resolve that contradiction means discarding the whole teaching and that has huge implications for the church.
- Trinitarian thinking tries hard to read between the lines of biblical texts, just the same way political commentators can spend hours discussing one short phrase from a politician’s speech. Take the phrase “let us make man in our own image, after our likeness”. From this, and through a long winding process, is built the idea that God was trying to say, “we are three in one here so we are speaking in plural terms”. Yet, it is never so that when one says “us” and “our” those pronouns say anything about the nature of the one speaking nor of those spoken to. Neither does it say anything about the number of persons involved. The number of assumptions/speculations that one has to make to move from “let us…our” to “we are three in one” is beyond logic. It is like saying, “Hmm, God is trying to say something here, lets see, aaah, yes now we have figured it out. He did not say it in words, but we have found what he was thinking”.
- Trinitarian thinking requires peeping into those things that are naturally beyond human comprehension. This contradiction in trinitarian thinking is one of the most intriguing. Trinitarian thinking will say things like, “no one can understand God”, and “God is a mystery”. Then immediately after that, trinitarian thinking makes a checklist of what makes the an entity God (he is worshipped, omniscient, omnipresent, involved in salvation, uses personal pronoun, is blasphemed, etc.) So they look at the Son and go tick, tick, tick, yep, the Son is God. The same thing with the Spirit, tick, tick, tick, yep the Spirit is God. But to produce a checklist of the attributes of God requires that you have prior knowledge of what God is, which very thing you say you do not know and don’t understand. Isn’t God simply declared to be God without any qualification that the human mind can checklist?
Not to mention eternal generation and eternal procession, and how God’s existence is speculated on by the idea of an eternity that is based on time as we know it. Completely beyond human comprehension.
So I think because of lack of academic rigor and honesty, the trinitarian academics do a huge disfavour to themselves and to the field of theology. I cover this in the article “Deconstructing the three-in-one god thought process”. I will cover some of these in the upcoming article “A evaluation of Gerhadt Pfandll’s article “The Trinity”.
So, for those of us who have seen and experienced the paradigm shift, our shift has to be complete. For example, we cannot continue to conceptualise eternity in the philosophical way it is conceptualised in trinitarian thinking. Neither should we try to construct and live with contradicting positions of our own making, no speculate on that which is not a “Thus saith the Lord”.
That’s my point.