Foundational Terms and Concepts for Trinity

We continue building a foundation for where we are going in the upcoming post by giving more brief descriptions over different terms and concepts. Today, we focus on a couple of attributes of God, arguments for God, and an alternate view to a Christian God.

Impassibility (Divine)basic meaning is, as the Westminster Confession puts it, that God is “without … passions” (emotions), therefore is im-passionate or impassible. Influenced by Greek philosophy. It shifts the concept of immutability from the divine nature (attributes) to the divine persons. Thomas Aquinas understood passio as the relinquishing of an essential divine quality; consequently, anything said of God’s emotions in Scripture is metaphorical (Summa Theologica 2A.22.1). Spinoza argued that any divine emotion implies change and any change compromises divine perfection. impassibility implies complete indifference. God’s beatific joy is finally above all human or other finite influences. Process theologians and Open View theists attack it very strongly, based especially upon the supposition that God is primarily characterized by love. Biblical evidences: God and heaven rejoice, God shows powerfully emotional love as divine Husband to Israel, other aspects of human activity are also attributed to God—remembering, laughing, hissing, repenting, breathing, walking, being jealous, etc. Because the self-revelation of God is authentic to who he is, we deduce that God’s emotions are both similar and different from our own. The Triune God reflects a fullness of balanced emotions, without caprice or uncontrolled passions. Whereas the Triune God is independent of creation, complete and fulfilled in himself, he chooses to enter the created arena of personal and emotive relationships, showing forth caring, yearning, sadness, anger and joy—emotions consistent with his entire nature.

Names of God: The significance of names: 1. Reveals God’s Person (Ex 3:13-15):- Revelatory of God’s character (I AM, The Almighty, The Holy One); Often couples God’s function with identity (Lord of Hosts, Fortress, Husband, Redeemer); God’s names reveal progressive revelation (Lamb of God, Alpha & Omega); 2. Represents God’s Person (Ps 8:1):- Metonymy for the whole person sometimes indicates the will of the person (“In Jesus’ name” sometimes invokes presence); 3. Therefore it is sacred – not to be blasphemed or taken lightly. Strong cautions regarding oaths. Safeguarded as a revelatory instrument.

Nicene CreedThe definitive standard of Trinitarian faith set forth at the Nicene (or 1st Ecumenical, 325) Council that declares the consubstantiality (homoousios, meaning “of one and the same substance or being”; it is used in the Nicene Creed to describe the essential divine equality the Son with the Father) of the Son with the Father, while anathematizing the views of Arius

OmnipotenceThere is nothing that God cannot do. He has all dominion, power and might. As completely sovereign, no one can defeat his counsel, thwart his purpose, or resist his will. Definition: As sovereign Creator of the visible and invisible universes, God is able do anything he chooses and he always does so in accord with his plan and character. there are certain things that God cannot do: “it is impossible for God to lie”. Doctrines of sovereignty and predestination do not affirm that God is the first cause of all that happens (he is not the author of evil). Yet if we affirm elements of human freedom (and it seems we must), we must be careful not to negate biblical texts that declare divine sovereignty over finally everything

OmniscienceGod knows all past, present and future, together with the trillions of possibilities and contingencies. If there are things that “catch God by surprise,” then chance, not God, is at the back of the universe

Ontological Argument: Anselm (Proslogion) in the 12th century set forth the fascinating a priori argument that because man has a concept of a Being who is the greatest of all conceivable beings—perfect, holy, loving and just, therefore that Being must exist, or else he would not be perfect. We can conceive of a greatest or perfect Being. A real Being is more perfect than an imaginary being. For such a Being not to exist is inconceivable. Ergo, such a Being must exist. We have an idea of a Perfect Being. Since God is the greatest Being who can be thought of, He cannot be conceived as not existing.

Pascal’s Wager: in his classic Pensées that—given the options of belief in the Christian God with a life of obedience versus disbelief in God with a life of pleasure—the reasonable choice would be obedient belief in God. Let us weigh us the gain and the loss involved in calling heads that God exists. Let us assess the two cases: if you win you win everything, if you lose you lose nothing. That leaves no choice; wherever there is infinity, and where there are not infinite chances of losing against that of winning, there is no room for hesitation, you must give everything. And thus, since you are obliged to play, you must be renouncing reason if you hoard your life rather than risk it for an infinite gain… EITHER GOD IS or HE IS NOT (and ) You MUST wager

Pierre Teilhard de Chardin’s Concept of God: Alpha to Omega. God the Force of Evolutionary Consciousness. Teilhard understood God as the divine force of evolution drawing the material universe through three states: (1) biological life (biogenesis); (2) human self-conscious thought (noogenesis); and (3) spiritual oneness with God (Christogenesis). Jesus Christ is seen as God’s promise of the end, the eschaton, when God will become incarnate not only in all humanity but also in all matter (“cosmic convergence”). This Omega Point of history, then, will be a complete hypostatic union of God with all creation; the universe will become God’s body. He believed that God is at the bottom of the human psyche and that humankind is evolving toward a new form of humanized Christianity in the flow to complete fulfillment.

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