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Picture of jk1962
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6. . . that the Persons of the Trinity minister to us from "all sides:" Christ beside us, the Father before/beyond us, and the Spirit within us.
I really like that one! God makes it clear throughout the entire bible that He does indeed want us to know Him in a most intimate way. It seems to me that it would be impossible unless we have access to Him. I don't mean that like access in prayer, but rather like access in a way that is practical for everyday life. By knowing that Christ, though divine, had to grow up as a human, be tempted as all humans are, suffer as all humans will experience to some extent we have a God that knows what it's like to be "us". By having the Holy Spirit within us, we have access in a deeply spiritual way that communicates God's desires to us and enables us to understand things about Him that simply would not be possible with some God who is just "out there" watching us. By having the loving Father before/beyond us, as you said, we have a Protector that is on our side! His power and mercy are our shelter and we can truly "hide" in Him.
For those who don't relate to the Trinity, I'm not exactly sure how they can come to the place where they experience a loving God...rather than a Master weilding a rod. Maybe I'm just hard headed..possibly?...lol.
 
Posts: 609 | Location: Oklahoma | Registered: 27 April 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Thanks for the recap, Phil. Just trying to get the thread back on track and figured you�d find not only a knew way to say what you already said but that it also might lead to some other thoughts.
 
Posts: 5413 | Location: Washington State | Registered: 21 September 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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"By having the loving Father before/beyond us, as you said, we have a Protector that is on our side! His power and mercy are our shelter and we can truly "hide" in Him.
For those who don't relate to the Trinity, I'm not exactly sure how they can come to the place where they experience a loving God...rather than a Master weilding a rod. Maybe I'm just hard headed..possibly?...lol."
A lot does depend on how we view God. Reading the OT gives us a picture of God as other... as out there someplace watching over, protecting, leading, guiding and all of that but as separate, unapproachable. The NT speaks of this same God but tells us that he is not out there, separate, unapproachable but within and among us... up close and personal.
I have to wonder too if those who do not have an experience of the Triune God, can really experience God... be in loving relationship with, grasp the infinity and possibility and wonder of God.
"I do not call you servants any longer, because the servant does not know what the master is doing; but I have called you friends,..."
Peace,
Wanda
 
Posts: 278 | Location: Pennslyvania | Registered: 12 September 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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One thing I do need to say is that, even for Christians, while we profess God as Trinity, it's considered quite acceptable in one's spiritual practice to relate to any of the Person's of the Trinity, or even just to God without considering the Persons or any Person. Many people seem to do this, and some even affirm that, for them, God is a loving God. Actually, the non-Trinitarian monotheism of the Jews and Moslems professes a God who is just and loving, even while being mostly transcendent, so we know that it's possible to affirm this image of God without being a Trinitarian monotheist. It's just that, as Terri and Wanda noted, it's a little easier to image God as love in the Trinitarian affirmation.

All FWIW, and it does seem we're back on track, Brad. Thanks for helping move things along.
 
Posts: 7539 | Location: Wichita, KS | Registered: 09 August 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Hi everyone...
This Sunday is Pentecost and so I have been thinking a bit about the Holy Spirit. Anyhow, wrote this and thought you might enjoy it....

Listen do you hear it?

That wind

Circling,

Penetrating, filling

The room

Carrying tongues of flame

Fire that burns but

Consumes not.

Voices speaking

Impossible words

Reeling like drunkards

Under the onslaught.

Come Holy Spirit

Blow through us

Wrap us round,

Fill us with your

Fiery passion.


Wanda
 
Posts: 278 | Location: Pennslyvania | Registered: 12 September 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Very nice, Wanda! Smiler (I've taken care of the double-post, which you can all do yourselves, btw.)

Without the gift of the Spirit, there would be no Christianity. It's naught but a nice moral message and a story of an outstanding mystic/prophet, whose life we should strive to emulate.

But what the Spirit does is enable us to share in the very life and power that moved Jesus. When the Spirit is given, the Church is born.

. . . back to Wanda's meditation . . .
 
Posts: 7539 | Location: Wichita, KS | Registered: 09 August 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I like that a lot, Wanda. I really do. I hope you write more.
 
Posts: 5413 | Location: Washington State | Registered: 21 September 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Picture of jk1962
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Wanda! That was really beautiful and said soooo much about the Holy Spirit. To me, it's as though God is literally breathing into my nostrils and mouth during some moments. I particularly love it when, sometimes, a few will be visiting..or just one or two...and it's as though you can literally feel that entertwining of your souls through the power of the Holy Spirit. It's just incredible and I think those are the times when I fall in love with Jesus all over again. It makes me wonder if this was how the apostles felt a lot of times...and if this is the unity we should all have.
Thanks..that was just really nice Big Grin
 
Posts: 609 | Location: Oklahoma | Registered: 27 April 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Hello everyone this is a first for me. I have enjoyed reading several posts on a variety of subjects as I seem to be a sponge for this kind of material. I think I may be in the same ball park as steve and Brad in many ways but I don't feel I have the best abilities for self expression..so bear with me and I hope I make some sense with my ideas...

Phil in your post 613 You listed the trinity
Father- unmanisfest, transcendent,, Author of Creation

Son- God-manifest, form-giver of creation,vessel through whom creation is spawned

Spirit-God -immanent, flowing through creation to guide it's developement.

MAny years ago I remember my son asking me how is it that God can be 3 person's in one and it occured to me that it was the same as the 3 parts of us that make us a whole...Mind, Body, Spirit.

I see the mind part of us as that of the Father
our Body as the vessel, the Son, and of course the Spirit is our Breath of life. Father is our thoughts and beliefs, Son is our body in which our thoughts and ideas are given form, and Spirit is the energy flowing through us to guide us in our developement and our co -creating.
 
Posts: 1 | Registered: 19 May 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I see the mind part of us as that of the Father
our Body as the vessel, the Son, and of course the Spirit is our Breath of life. Father is our thoughts and beliefs, Son is our body in which our thoughts and ideas are given form, and Spirit is the energy flowing through us to guide us in our developement and our co -creating.


That's an interesting way to look at things, Marcia, and it could very well be that this "tri-partite" aspect of human nature images the Trinity somehow. And I think it very well could even tell us something about the roles of the Persons of the Trinity.

In addition, what the doctrine of the Trinity asserts is that each of the Persons is fully God, sharing completely in the knowledge and will of the other Persons. And so, in that sense, each of the Persons possesses intelligence and will, and is thus far more than a role of God. Make sense?
 
Posts: 7539 | Location: Wichita, KS | Registered: 09 August 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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First of all, there is still quite a bit of discussion regarding the trinity. It has never been a settled fact/doctrine due to the fact that the are no overt references to the concept within scripture. The passage most often cited has been long acknowledged as an addition in later manuscripts. Consequently, the veracity of “doctrine” itself is still the center of any discussion regarding the concept. You are correct in noting that the doctrine is distinctive in most modern religions. But you are wrong in stating that it was taught in the first century of Christianity. It was not a settled or official teaching of the church until the council of Nicea.

Your statement “According to Christian theology, this revelation of God-as-Trinity is a deep and intimate self-revelation from God--something we never could have guessed. In other words, God wants to be known as Trinity by us; to reject that would be akin to rejecting something dear and personal that any human would reveal to us--only exponentially worse!” – is at best begging the question. At worst, it is unsupported by any known scripture! Please cite the passage that reveals such a desire on the part of God!? Your attempts to prove its veracity by stating that God is something beyond our understanding does not lend any credence to your belief – it only makes room for man to interpret God as anything we want to twist scripture into saying, because after all – who can really know?

There are three parts to God and God is love – therefore there must beat least two parts of him because love is an action? What type of circular reasoning is that? If love is an action how does God love God? Whew, you went all around the mulberry bush on that one. God is a spirit and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth. If God’s nature is spirit, how can the Spirit of God be separate or distinct from God’s Spirit? It is precisely and exactly the same thing. There is no cellular distinction between the primary substance of a single cell and the same primary substance of that same cell! If God is a spirit – then the spirit of God is God and there are not two parts but a single whole!

I won’t even go into the mental conundrum you create for yourself by stating that God is outside the physical universe and cannot be compared to it and then going on to compare the Spiritual Nature of God to our physical bodies/soul relationship.
 
Posts: 30 | Location: Ringgold, GA | Registered: 20 May 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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First of all, there is still quite a bit of discussion regarding the trinity.

Where? Not in Christianity.

It has never been a settled fact/doctrine due to the fact that the are no overt references to the concept within scripture. The passage most often cited has been long acknowledged as an addition in later manuscripts.

What passage is that? What is the evidence that it's been changed? And know that the doctrine of the Trinity has, in fact, been a settled doctrine for centuries.

As for the rest of your statements, I'll pass on them, seeing that I've already posted on those topics.

Now I'd really like to welcome you to the forum, but if you've read through this thread, you'll see that you're picking up right where another forum member who was banned has left off. That's not a really good start, so I'm hoping things will get better from here on.

Phil
 
Posts: 7539 | Location: Wichita, KS | Registered: 09 August 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Ok Pessimist...
Have a few things to dispute with you.... first your statement"
"But you are wrong in stating that it was taught in the first century of Christianity. It was not a settled or official teaching of the church until the council of Nicea."

The Nicene Creed was issued in 325 Ad.... which I believe is the during the first century of Christianity. Not only was the subject of the Trinity addressed here but also in the Athanasian Creed which is reported to come from around 428, also in the first century. In between you have the Apostles's Creed which dates back to the late 300s. These Creeds were not something a bunch of people made up just for the heck of it.... they were an attempt by the Early Church to define their beliefs... to answer the question... what do we believe.
While I am relatively certain that you are familiar with the Nicene and Apostles' Creeds I thought you might find the statement on the Trinity in the Athanasian interesting and have included that portion of it below.
Now this is the catholic faith:
That we worship one God in trinity
and the trinity in unity,
neither blending their persons
nor dividing their essence.
For the person of the Father is a distinct person,
the person of the Son is another,
and that of the Holy Spirit still another.
But the divinity of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit is one,
their glory equal, their majesty coeternal.
What quality the Father has, the Son has, and the Holy Spirit has.
The Father is uncreated,
the Son is uncreated,
the Holy Spirit is uncreated.
The Father is immeasurable,
the Son is immeasurable,
the Holy Spirit is immeasurable.
The Father is eternal,
the Son is eternal,
the Holy Spirit is eternal.
And yet there are not three eternal beings;
there is but one eternal being.
So too there are not three uncreated or immeasurable beings;
there is but one uncreated and immeasurable being.
Similarly, the Father is almighty,
the Son is almighty,
the Holy Spirit is almighty.
Yet there are not three almighty beings;
there is but one almighty being.
Thus the Father is God,
the Son is God,
the Holy Spirit is God.
Yet there are not three gods;
there is but one God.
Thus the Father is Lord,
the Son is Lord,
the Holy Spirit is Lord.
Yet there are not three lords;
there is but one Lord.
Just as Christian truth compels us
to confess each person individually
as both God and Lord,
so catholic religion forbids us
to say that there are three gods or lords.
The Father was neither made nor created nor begotten from anyone.
The Son was neither made nor created;
he was begotten from the Father alone.
The Holy Spirit was neither made nor created nor begotten;
he proceeds from the Father and the Son.
Accordingly there is one Father, not three fathers;
there is one Son, not three sons;
there is one Holy Spirit, not three holy spirits.
Nothing in this trinity is before or after,
nothing is greater or smaller;
in their entirety the three persons
are coeternal and coequal with each other.
So in everything, as was said earlier,
we must worship their trinity in their unity
and their unity in their trinity.

Anyone then who desires to be saved
should think thus about the trinity.

"First of all, there is still quite a bit of discussion regarding the trinity. It has never been a settled fact/doctrine due to the fact that the are no overt references to the concept within scripture."
I am not even going to bother addressing your reference to Scripture because that has already been addressed but I will dispute your contention that this has never been a settled fact/doctrine -
as these statements of faith... the Creeds attest differently.

Yes, there has been much discussion/reflection/writing around the Doctrine of the Trinity but the discussion has not been concerning it's existence - its truth - it's reality as it has been an attempt to explain our experience of this reality and to nail that down definitively is as difficult as perhaps as futile as nailing down God.
Now I will close by telling you that you can believe what you like.. just know that if you have any intention of trying to change my beliefs, you may as well save your energy. I may not be able to describe it adequately, but I experience God as Trinity... Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
Peace,
Wanda
 
Posts: 278 | Location: Pennslyvania | Registered: 12 September 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Wanda, the Council of Nicea was in the 4th C. of Christianity, and it affirmed what was already believed. See one of my earlier posts on this thread with quotes from the early 2nd century on the Trinity, not to mention the many implicit references in Scripture.

Thanks for posting that Athanasian Creed. Quite Trinitarian, indeed.

Perhaps we can get back to the "what difference does it make," part, if anyone's interested in discussing that. As I was hoping to show, there are lots of meaningful implications.

Phil
 
Posts: 7539 | Location: Wichita, KS | Registered: 09 August 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Picture of jk1962
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Wanda thank you for posting that creed. I had seen the name of it, but never read it. I particularly like it, though. I find myself reciting the Apostle's creed in my head sometimes when someone asks what it is I believe..lol. I think it was at the beginning of this thread or maybe it was the other one (sorry, I forgot to check for sure), Phil mentioned about the Trinity and the community of our faith...the church. It seems to me that the Trinity brings a completeness, if you will, to our whole relationship with God. Humans are intricate beings, how much more so, our God. And how could we relate to Him at all if we couldn't be in touch with His complete "person"?
 
Posts: 609 | Location: Oklahoma | Registered: 27 April 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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First, let me say that I had not read all of the posts on this site prior to posting mine. I did not mean to be offensive. I just felt you had assumed things factual that were not. I see no support in scripture for separating the spirit of God from God who is a spirit. I hold a dichotomy view of man and God rather than trichotomy view. In was in light of this disctinction of views that I stated that the trinity was not a settled issue. First Century Christianity was from circa 35 AD through 135 AD and therefore the creeds and councils of which you properly quote are more accurately 3rd or 4th century Christianity. The Gospels and other Books of the NT are the 1st and 2nd century beliefs and doctrines of the church and in them there are no overt or plain references to any concept of the trinity. God is a spirit and that is his essence, therefore I find no distinction in scripture that separate his spirit(essence) from his essence(spirit) or distinquishes 2 persons in the spirit. That aid, I did not mean to be devisive, just to provide an alternative of our wonderful and glorious God!
 
Posts: 30 | Location: Ringgold, GA | Registered: 20 May 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Wanda brought attention to a book that helped me come to term with many of the doctrinal issues within the Nicene Creed. It is called Loving the Questions by Marianne Micks, the late Professor Emerita of Biblical and historical Theology at Virginia Theological Seminary.

In her discussion of the Trinity, she does a good job explaining the problems of translating what are basically Greek thoughts into Latin and then into Modern English.

She brings up an example used by Tertullian to explain the Trinitarian nature of God that speaks particularly well to me. It is one based on Greek drama, when actors wore masks to distinguish which character they were playing. The term was "personae" from which we get our word "persona". Tertullian compared the Triune nature of God as the three "personea" of the one God "substantia".

Karl Rahner, used the expression "modes" to explain how the Trinity was God's way of self revelation.

Phil though, brought up the question of relevance. What difference does the doctrine if the Trinity make?

I need to start with theology in general. Frankly, we all have one. It may not be well thought out, and it may not be based on reality, but it affects the way a person perceives the world in which they live. Even if one ignores "God", one eventually has to determine their relationship to the rest of creation and to the mystery that surrounds us.

It might be hard for us in this day and age to comprehend how great this mystery has historically been. I had a taste of it recently while on retreat for a week at a facility that did not have any TV, newspapers, or easily accesible phones. It struck me that my world had shrunk to the community of individuals with whom I shared this retreat space. We knew we were not the only people that existed, but we felt at times as though we were. Now if you took away our knowledge of the world around us and you have a sense of how much mystery there was for humanity until very recently.

While on retreat it was pointed out to me how important it is to children to hear the same stories over and over again. It provides them some certainty in what is to them a chaotic mysterious world.

I can understand how to many in the ancient world, debates about the nature of God threatened their sense of security. I could see how one would rather have answers than questions, thus the continual attraction of fundamentalism.

Unfortunately, or fortunately, the nature of God is a question with which humanity continues to wrestle. The Christian community has, as has been pointed out in this thread, taken its stand on the side of a trinitarian view. We have also done a horrible job at explaining it to the rest of the world and we are often confused about it ourselves.

Whether we are right or wrong, it is a view that affects our view of reality. It affects our relations with our neighbors. It affects our prayer life. In short, it affects how human experience.

John
 
Posts: 38 | Location: Deerfield, IL | Registered: 07 January 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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My goodness, Phil! I was reading through the various posts Steve had made and I can see where you would be very apprehensive about another person coming in and questioning the validity of the Trinitarian doctrine. I wish to apologize to everyone on the site for any offense my blunt entry into the thread has caused. I am by no means hostile to the doctrine of the trinity, I merely find it unnecessary for my personal beliefs. I do understand that many people do find support for and agree with the doctrine. I believe that as long as it does not hinder them from practising pure and undefiled religion (visiting the fatherless and the widows) and showing the love of God to man, I have no problems with it. I merely wished to state my view and did not wish to stir any hornets nests. please forgive any harm?
 
Posts: 30 | Location: Ringgold, GA | Registered: 20 May 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Hey, pessimist, absolutely no problem. It's really OK to raise questions provided one actually wants to discuss them.

As I mentioned in an earlier post, official Christian doctrine is one thing, and the Christian devotional life another. Doctrinally, we can't get away from the Trinity, and as John noted, we haven't done a very good job of teaching about that. Devotionally, there are lots and lots of Christians who pray to God--simply God!--and in a manner that Jews, Moslems, Jehova's Witnesses, and Mormons could go along with. Others pray to Christ, and there are still a few Catholics whose devotional lives seem much more focused on Mary or even some of the Saints. All fine and well, until they try to project a theology out of this and then challenge the formal doctrines. Then we have another issue.

Be well, and let's hear more from you.

Phil
 
Posts: 7539 | Location: Wichita, KS | Registered: 09 August 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I am curious when you say that "Doctrinally, we can't get away from the Trinity", are you speaking in the sense of Christian doctrine as a collective whole, in the sense of the Roman Catholic Church or only in the limited sense of the participants of this forum? I am just trying to get a sense of how fundamental you find this doctrine to be for yourself, this forum, your church and the faith. Again, I am not trying to be argumentative, just curious.
 
Posts: 30 | Location: Ringgold, GA | Registered: 20 May 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Pessimist, there's no doubt in my mind that the doctrine of the Trinity is characteristic of not only Catholicism, but Christianity. It's so fundamental that if one rejects this doctrine, it's doubtful that one can be called a Christian.

The Orthodox Church has a good discussion of the doctrine. See this url for a listing of their links on the Trinity. The one on wrong doctrines of the Trinity is particularly interesting. Some of these have been proposed during the course of discussion on this very website. Eeker

Phil
 
Posts: 7539 | Location: Wichita, KS | Registered: 09 August 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Picture of jk1962
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Phil! Wow that's a great website, thanks for putting it on here..lots of really good information. And I noticed that the way I worded my own definition of Trinity was sort of part of the "wrong" way...lol. Although, I knew what I was trying to say, I didn't express it correctly...so this is really cool to be able to read this and formulate it properly in my head about how to present it..thanks!
 
Posts: 609 | Location: Oklahoma | Registered: 27 April 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Thank you Phil for that clarification. You obviously place great emphasis on and faith in the teaching of the Trinity. I can fully appreciate that having believed it for the majority of my life as a Christian. However, when I went to a Christian UNiversity and had to take a class on doctrines, I was given (as proof for the trinity) a tichotomy view of man. That is that man is body, soul and spirit. As my very learned professor attempted to convince me of the veracity of this trichotomy view of man, I began to hear a ring of falseness in the logical construct itself. Man cannot be a spirit and a soul. Man exists in two realms, the physical and the spiritual. His body existing in the physial realm (finite) and subject to all of the laws of nature, and his soul (which includes his spirit) existing in the spiritual realm (eternal) and subject to the spiritual laws of God. To divide man into soul and spirit you create two identities for man existing in the spiritual world. Which one is eternal? Which one is you, the person? which one will be cast into heaven or hell? which one . . .well, you get the idea. I do not deny that there is a spirit of man, but there is no scriptural proof for dividing the soul and the spirit into two existences, just as there is no scriptural proof for dividing the spirit of God from God who is a spirit. That Man is a dichotomy and God has two persons - there is proof for those. Even Christ's prayer to the father supports a two-part view of God. That you and I may be one even as he(the physical manifestation) and the father(the spirit reality) are one. well, anyway, now I am rambling - and I don't mean to be obtuse about a subject that profits little. Smiler
 
Posts: 30 | Location: Ringgold, GA | Registered: 20 May 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Terri. Smiler If everyone who tried to talk about the Trinity and who ended up expressing "incorrect" ideas about it was burned at the stake, we'd solve the overpopulation problem (if there is one, that is). No problem. Glad you enjoyed the web site, which I also found very well organized, with solid, readable content.

-----------

pessimist, I'm not sure if you followed up on the reference I posted above, which has some info on why the Spirit is also viewed as a Person of the Trinity. Jesus certainly spoke of the Spirit as such, and so did Paul.

FWIW, Catholics don't ascribe to a tripartite view of humans for the reasons you stated. The soul is not one thing and the spirit another; the soul IS spiritual, and its "spirit" refers to its immateriality and its volitional orientation unto transcendence. So Catholics speak of body and soul, and even here we say that there is such a profound integration that a disembodied soul (as in a dead person) is metaphysically deficient.

The biggest mistake I see in the reasoning of your professor is his using human nature as an indication of the divine. First of all, the image of God that we are is not body-soul-spirit, but that, like God, we are spiritual beings endowed with a capacity for knowing and choosing in freedom. If you'd like a comprehensive reference describing the concept of soul in Catholic theology (and its interaction with other philosophies), go to http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/14153a.htm .

The main point is that while the image of God that we are can tell us something about what God is (personal, spiritual), it can't really tell us Who God is. That's where revelation comes in, which brings us back to the Trinity--not something we could have inferred from our own nature. After all, we are creatures, and God is God. Trying to understand Who God is by projecting our nature is akin to a bacterium trying to guess at what human consciousness would be like by projecting its nature to another level.

. . . However, when I went to a Christian UNiversity and had to take a class on doctrines . . .

Did you mean to say Christian UNiversity, or was that a Freudian slip? Wink Razzer Big Grin

Phil
 
Posts: 7539 | Location: Wichita, KS | Registered: 09 August 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Dear Pessimist,

I think I owe you an apology. I should not have taken my frustrations with another out on you. I am really sorry. Friends?
Peace,
Red Face
Wanda
 
Posts: 278 | Location: Pennslyvania | Registered: 12 September 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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