Sunday, February 25, 2007

Sunday Driving on the Innerstate

The Trinity is an idea that seems to baffle many Christians, let alone non-Christians -- the notion that God is the mutual and co-eternal indwelling of three persons in one, one of whom is paradoxically fully human yet fully divine. Although it sounds complex, at the same time, we are assured that God is intrinsically simple (i.e., not an aggregate), so there must be something about this formulation that is as logically clear and necessary as any rule of geometry -- say, "a line consists of two points." Not to entirely demystify it -- mystery being an important mode of knowing -- but there must be some way to cut through the centuries of speculation and see through to the beautiful simplicity of it.

As always, I am driving while intoxicated -- which is to say writing while coontemplating -- so you will forgive me if I careen off the road and end up on Route 666. This can happen when traveling the innerstate, especially if one uses an excessively freeway. I will leave it to you to decide whether that's a fully deployed windbag in front of you or a hot-air balloony trying to lift you by your buddhastraps into the pneumatosphere.

In his Theo-Drama, Balthasar -- who was apparently Pope John Paul's favorite theologian -- say, did you know that JPII also had a copy of Meditations on the Tarot sitting right smack dab on his surprisingly little desk, for which Balthasar wrote the epilogue? -- which only goes to show you that this wonderful man might have worn an imposing pointy hat in public, but a soft and inviting coonskin cap in private... say, where was I? Let's just start over.

In the Theo-Drama, Balthasar likens what we in Coonland are calling "the arc of salvation" to a stage play that reconciles the problem of divine and human freedom -- which is to say the paradox of infinite and finite freedom. For if the soul is created, how then can it actually be truly free?

For example, "facing forward," it always looks like we have a more or less radical existential freedom -- at least those of us privileged to live in the West.

But "facing backward," we can often see that our freedom was more or less of an illusion. To cite one obvious example, psychoanalysis deals with the study of the unmetabolized past-in-the-present, otherwise known as the unconscious. As we explore the unconscious and its repository of mind parasites, we can see how these entities limited our freedom -- not to say fulfillment -- due to agendas all their own -- agendas we can only detect in hindsight. Although a mind parasite exists, so to speak, in the "space" of the mind, it is only by surveying our past and looking at certain dysfunctional patterns in time that we can see the workings of the little buggers.

But at the same time, if you are on any kind of spiritual path and survey your past, a different kind of pattern will emerge. In fact, for most people -- and for Coons by definition -- it will appear coontrived, which is to say that it will look as if it were guided by the workings of a sort of predestination. On the one hand, we can all be relieved that we have arrived at this happy deustination. But on the other hand, it can be a little unsettling to realize that the freedom you perceived at the time was not as free as it looked, in the sense that your life was being dreamt by a "supraconscious dreamer" of which you were unaware at the time.

What this suggests is that the "ontology of the moment" contains two streams of karma, as it were, one of which is pushing you forward into the past (the mind parasites), the other of which is pulling you back to the future -- in other words, this latter karmic stream beckons you to paradoxically "become what you already are."

Yesterday we discussed the idea of spatial, "geometrical" truth vs. temporal, "musical" truth. Our lives are a combination of geometry and music, of adventure and law, of harmony and melody, of freedom within the constraints of some kind of hidden necessity. Our "life" consists of the more or less winding road we take to re-arrive where we startled and even jumped into our skin. In the words of the Poet,

And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time

Now, Balthasar has a very interesting take on the Trinity and its relation to the cosmic theo-drama. Jesus, because he was all-man, had to be no different than the rest of us in this respect. As such, just like us, he could not fully know or understand the nature of the drama in which he was situated. If he had known, then his passion would have been something less than that -- more of a detached "dispassion," as he simply "played out the clock" -- as in a one-sided basketball game. Not to sound blasphemous, but it would have been much more like the Life of Brian than the Passion of the Christ. Jesus could have been on the cross glancing at his watch, knowing that, outward appearances to the contrary notwithstanding, there was nothing to sweat about -- let alone blood. "I'm cool. It's all good."

Thus, just like our lives, Jesus had an element of horizontal freedom -- which is to say existential nothingness -- within the constraints of a much larger drama in which he was taking part. While he obviously had "hints" of a larger purpose -- as indeed we all do -- the human Jesus could not have been privy to the whole script. And in fact, Balthasar uses the metaphor of playwright, director, and actor to conceptualize the situation. The Father is "playwright"; the Son is "actor"; and the Holy Spirit is "director" (one is reminded that JPII was an actor). As Edward Oakes explains,

"a successful theatrical production always depends on the harmonious cooperation of three freedoms, which are not however equal: for the director must serve the script and the actor must serve both; yet the actor cannot simply afford to be an automaton if the production is to be successful: some unnamed element... must be engaged if the play is to emerge before the audience as playwright and director intended it."

As Sachs (quoted in Oakes) writes, "The fact that the actor-Son has the responsibility to play the role given him by the author-Father, as 'whispered' to him in each moment by the prompter-Spirit, does not exclude the actor-Son's interpretive freedom. On the contrary, it assumes it and provides the material in which his freedom as an actor can become concrete. Therefore, although the author has a definite primacy with regard to the actor and the prompter (or director), it is by no means a tyrannical relationship. The author continues to be present in his work but as one who opens up the creative 'space' of the part."

Thus, even Jesus struggles with the two "streams of karma": a literally infinite gap -- the gap of God's absence or withdrawal from creation -- exists between the O, my father, let this cup pass from me, and the it is accomplished.

Back to our own lives, in which there is a curious freedom that accompanies surrendering to that which we are and He Who Is. Looking back at our lives, we can see that we were least free when we thought we had the most freedom, and most free when we finally gave up the faux freedom. Balthasar compares it to the artist who moves from the persecutory space of being tormented by indecision and infinite possibility, until he is finally "possessed by the idea inspiring him and surrenders himself completely to its imperious and peremptory demands." This feeling of being "seized" and "surrendering" describes exactly what it felt like to write my book, and increasingly, to write these posts. Or to live my life, for that martyr.

So history -- both personal and collective -- is a God-given space of freedom in which we are free to choose the path back to ourselves and to God. All roads lead to the same place, but some get there faster than others. And some routes are much more scenic and beautiful.

If I ventured in the slipstream
Between the viaducts of your dreams
Where immobile steel rims crack
And the ditch in the back roads stop
Could you find me?
Would you kiss-a my eyes?
To lay me down
In silence easy
To be born again
To be born again

From the far side of the ocean
If I put the wheels in motion
And I stand with my arms behind me
And I'm pushin' on the door
Could you find me?
Would you kiss-a my eyes?
To lay me down
In silence easy
To be born again
To be born again....

In another world
In another time
Got a home on high
Ain't nothing but a stranger in this world
I'm nothing but a stranger in this world
I got a home on high
In another land
So far away
So far away
Way up in the heaven

In another time
In another place
In another face.... --Van Morrison, Astral Weeks


joan of argghh! said...

Hmmmm... on which of the three posts about the Trinity should we post?


interested said...

You have demonstrated to me why it is possible to be a Christian and not a Trinitarian. Christ was the Son, who grew in grace to become One with the father (John 17) just as he asked us to become one with He and the Father. He had an independent will that he surrendered to the Father.

Of course the orthodox will howl but the resolution of the Trinitarian conundrum is to reject the Trinity as a bolt-on doctrine that has no real foundation in the revelation of the Bible and is the source of intense intellectual strain to no good end.

joan of argghh! said...

Umm...make that four posts about the Trinity. Now I'm coonfused.

Gagdad Bob said...

Weird. Blogger is acting up today.

joan of argghh! said...

I still remember the parish priest asking our 3rd grade class if we could help him explain the trinity. Little Joan of Argghh! had never considered the enormity of such an idea. The mystery of it was thrilling, I must find out more!

In the history one's life, do we reflect the "as above, so below" of the idea of Trinity? Not just as a hat that one may wear; today I am a mother, a child, and a sistah. I tend to think it speaks more of how others relate to the me that is me. So at times I am seen as a guide, lawgiver, and comforter. Any role is available when called upon and necessary, but I remain one person.

Do the spirtually mature need the idea and/or truth of the Trinity in order to fully become?

ricky raccoon said...

Dr Bob,
Great post...was reminded of a I thought I would scoot over to Wikiquote for a sec (hardly ever go there) and I am it is - but not the one I was looking for...but I am speechless as this one is the 'Quote of the Day': "I look at the world and I notice it’s turning.
While my guitar gently weeps.
With every mistake we must surely be learning,
Still my guitar gently weeps."
~ George Harrison ~

This just happens(?) to be the one quote I placed in my highschool yearbook.

Off to find the one I was looking for originally...

Smoov said...

"Weird. Blogger is acting up today."

Yes it is. The post I made earlier has vanished. It definitely wasn't anything that would trigger an intentional deletion, so I can only assume Blogger blew chunks yet again.

I also noticed that earlier today when I accessed the site using Firefox I could only get last Thursday's post, and nothing later. Now I can get today's post again, but my comment is still MIA.

walt said...

SO FINE to see Robin Starfish become the Haikoon!

For this minimalist, his "comments" provide the perfect "tone" to highlight Bob's prose.

NoMo said...

Trinity - the mystery. No one can fully get it - after all, we are dealing with the nature of God. God is three persons. Each person is divine. There is only one God - Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Each is distinct from the other, yet identical in essence. Each is fully divine in nature, but each is not the totality of the Trinity. Each has a will, loves, and says "I", and "You" when speaking through scripture. The Father is not the same person as the Son who is not the same person as the Holy Spirit who is not the same person as the Father. Each is divine, yet there are not three gods, but one God (thus the word trinity, not triad - an important distinction between orthodoxy and other than).

Simple illustrations are about the best we can do. This one might be called, "God's fingerprints on creation": The universe consists of three elements, Time, Space, and Matter. Each of these is comprised of three 'components': past, present, and future; height, width and depth; and solid, liquid and gas. With time, the past is distinct from the present, which is distinct from the future. Although simultaneous, they are not three 'times,' but one - they all share the same nature: time. With space, height is distinct from width, which is distinct from depth, which is distinct from height - they are not three 'spaces,' but one. That is, they all share the same nature: space. With matter...etc. Three sets of threes - a trinity of trinities. What should we expect dealing with an incomprehensible God who exists in all places at all times? A completely comprehensible and understandable explanation of God's essence and nature is not possible. In the end, the concept of "trinity" is a combination of truths derived from Scripture that we CAN grasp (we think).

Van Morrison in the house!

ricky raccoon said...

In case it wasn’t obvious, the George Harrison quote not only made a connection with my past (that I hadn’t thought of in quite a long time) but also to Dr Bob’s posts in the Arc series referring to history taking right angles or perhaps a ‘turning’ as the quote echoes.

NoMo said...

Haicoonudos to Robin!

Chairman Meow said...

I found the Playwright, Director, and Actor metaphor very vivid and helpful.

In my life I like to visualize God as light in the sky, the holy spirit as an invisible fiber-optic cable thing that feeds into my mind, and myself as the Son.

In my schemata each person is a Son, each with their own cable hookup to the light source.

Guidance is fed into the mind on an as-needed basis. It is up to each Son to retrieve and use the downloads, as task usually delegated to the intuition.

Yeah, sounds nuts. Each person should perhaps arrive at a conception of the Trinity that they are comfortable with and use that.

Theo Login said...

The Trinity can be seen as an explanation for how God talks.

An analogy: A dad speaks to his kid, telling him to do his homework.

Father>>>>Holy Spirit (voice)>>>Son

The Trinity is not needed as an essential realization on any path. It is just the theologicians stab at sociology.

ms. e said...

"Thus, even Jesus struggles with the two "streams of karma": a literally infinite gap -- the gap of God's absence or withdrawal from creation -- exists between the O, my father, let this cup pass from me, and the it is accomplished."

Ah, the freedom and magical mystery of Life at the Improv or rather the Improv at Life - Betwixt - Dancing all the Dances with little rest Between the Ramparts on an Intervallic Mission Home.

Jane said...

ricky racoon...

So interesting. I've had that particular song running on and on in my head for about a week now... a coonincidence do you think?

Dear Leader...

With all the talk of music I must say that since I have found your little den I've had a tuning fork of truth humming in me... so beautiful and every post is a new perfect note...

will said...

>>As such, just like us, he (Jesus) could not fully know or understand the nature of the drama in which he was situated. If he had known, then his passion would have been something less than that -- more of a detached "dispassion," as he simply "played out the clock" -- as in a one-sided basketball game.<<

In his discourse, "About Disinterest" (or "detachment"), Meister Eckhart insists that in both Jesus and Mary " , , , there was an outward man and an inner person and, while they taught about external matters, they were outwardly active but inwardly unmoved and disinterested. This is how it was when Christ said: "My soul is sorrowful even unto death."

Now, I don't think Eckhart is implying that a cosmically dispassionate Christ fully comprehended the drama in which he was the central figure. Christ's "outward man", by nature, could not have comprehended it. Yet his "inner person", which was, according to Eckhart, utterly dispassionate and detached, must have in some way understood the scope of the drama. Indeed, an "outward man" could not have withstood what Christ had to undergo. Crucifixion is bad enough, but taking the world's karma head-on is another thing all together.

Very paradoxical: One can (and must) humanly suffer and suffer fully, and yet there can coexist a dispassion that transcends suffering. Thus when Christ uttered, "My God, why have you forsaken me?", I think we can assume that he wasn't "performing", that his agony was real. Still, I think, his detachment "spoke to him" in some way, telling him that to complete the drama, he had to undergo the Dark Night of all Dark Nights, the complete withdrawal of any and all "God-consciousness", complete aridity of soul and spirit.

I think that such a plunge into the Dark Night of the Soul would be literally unendurable without a measure of detachment, not only for Christ, but for anyone who experiences the Dark Night. Of course, in a certain sense, the Dark Night experience is synonymous with holy detachment - one can't really experience the Dark Night without having first picked up the cross or, to put it another way, activated one's karma by volunteering for the spiritual path. By doing so, one gains the detachment necessary to withstand the storms of the Dark Night.

In any event, I think Eckart's perspective re: the inner-outer person of Christ illustrates very well the ideal of East/West spiritual merger. Western Christianity has been very much centered on the ideal of "devotion", something that while having its virtues, can become mired in a decidedly un-detached emotionality. Conversely, Eastern spirituality has been too concerned with the purely detached "self" that does not interact with the world and perhaps is too taken with the notion of escaping suffering. Eckhart's Christ seems a balance between the two.

interested said...

Bob once suggested here that the doctrine of theosis was very clear in the writings of the old church fathers but has become murky over time.

I wonder if theosis was soft pedalled as the doctrine of the Trinity was advanced.

I consider the doctrine of the Trinity to be a philosphical add-on to satisfy Greek philosophy and Jewish monotheism.

Now it becomes the defining doctrine of Christianity with almost no biblical basis. Anyone who rejects Trinity is outside the pale even if they fully believe that salvation only comes through the blood of Christ, the Son of God.

cousin dupree said...


We have no desire to get into a tedious theological debate, but how can the Trinity satisfy Jewish monotheism when the trinitarian God is precisely one of the things that distinguishes Christianity from the two Semitic purely mono-monotheisms, Judaism and Islam?

To the extent that humans are in the image of the creator, then it is our belief that God must in principle reflect the intrinsically trinitarian nature of man, which is to say two beings linked by love. Just as the idea of a human being in isolation is inconceivable, so too is the notion of "God alone" (we are speaking of God here as distinct from Godhead, or being as distinct from beyond-being). A moment's reflection will confirm that if God is love -- which he is -- then God must be a dynamic three: lover, beloved, and the love that is exchanged between them. A dualistic and polarized "twoness" would be as static as mere oneness.

This conception comports with the pure metaphysics of Vedanta as well, as the three essential characteristics of Brahman are sat-chit-ananda, which can be understood as being (father), consciousness (son), and beatitude or joy (holy spirit).

Anyhoo, that's this Coon's two cents, for what it's worth.

Anonymous said...

I had a minor epiphany while driving home from the grocery store and ruminating over today's post.

Religion could be called a type of art, like music, painting or writing. Most anybody can do it in some basic way and in its simplest forms. But it seems to me that learning how to "do" faith is akin to learning how to paint a portrait or compose a symphony; that is, for most of us, if we are to become reasonably adept we must first learn the rules: how to draw lines or read notes, followed by constructing chords or drawing three-dimensional shapes, or accurately describing a tree in a simple paragraph. Once you have a firm grasp of the rules, (or the structure, if you prefer) you then have the freedom to bend or even break them, for instance in a discussion that came up recently about "proper" chords vs. those that "feel right" within the context of the music.(Sometimes, very rarely, parallel fifths really do work - but you have to know when they're right, or they'll set your teeth on edge; the audio equivalent of sucking a lemon as opposed to a hint of lemon...) Rigid conformation with with the rules can become robotic and lifeless, when taken too far.

As another example, it is readily apparent when an abstract painter is painting from an understanding of the fundamentals of creating good art, vs. one who paints abstractly because it's just too hard to get a line to look like any recognizable object. The former touches the viewer in a meaningful way, while the latter is obviously mere scribbling tantrum.

So too with Religion. Many people (new agers, followers of The Secret, etc.) want to go straight from horizontal man to Vertical Mystic without using any of the frameworks or guidelines sent by O to help gain an understanding of what it even means to achieve verticality, much les what to do with it even if they could.

Raccoons, on the other hand, are trying very hard to learn and follow the guidelines; it is only when we have a strong understanding of those rules that we can achieve the true Freedom that Bob wrote about today (or so it seems to me, from my current and rather low on the mountain POV).

Anyway, you know how it is with epiphanies - if you can't share them with someone, what good are they : )

ssrrcrsp - sure are crisp??

Lisa said...

Why stop at a trinity or just 3? Can't the completeness(for lack of a better word) of God be justified at any number? The most crucial and distilled one being one or infinity.

If one man took on the world's karma, why is there still karma being played out? If this man is God, why wouldn't he have done it perfectly the first time?

Duality has as much movement and stillness as a trinity. In essence it always boils down to one which paradoxically is nothing.

Starting to understand why so many mathematicians and scientists lose their bearings/mind in this world when they come close to defining infinity and God. Very perplexing, indeed.

Anonymous said...


I wonder if it's the Trinity because of the inherent stability that the number three represents? When you want something to be level, but are working with unsteady ground, you always use a tripod, because the legs can be at differing heights (within limits) and still stand. A mono-pod or bi-pod need additional suport to remain upright. A triangle is the most basic multi-sided shape (two points only make a line, while one point is simply One). These are just a few points among a multitude that any scientist could mention, I'm sure.

When you extend that analogy into the human realm, it takes three to really make a family; one is alone, and while two make a couple it takes the two plus a third to be more than that.

As above, so below.

Gagdad Bob said...

Julie C:

I think you expressed it perfectly. Both the painting and musical analogies work very well. The purpose of a religion is to help you "do" religion, in thought, values, and deeds -- or within the realms of truth, beauty, and goodness... or knowledge, will, and sentiment, speaking of trinities....

RiverCocytus said...

Hmmm... nomo, you put it well. Indeed, the trinity itself is reflected in relationships among people as well. In addition to the Lover - Beloved - Love, there is the Father->Son->Spirit (with lines from father to both son and spirit.

One thing I found interesting is, it is difficult for us to get, I think, that we need to pray TO the FATHER, in the name of the SON. As to by what principle this is required, I am unsure.

As for this split-level trierachy, it applies to the man as well; Spirit-Soul-Body (or Spirit-Mind-Body if you will) or, God-Inner Man-Outer Man (so God, or the lack of him flows to both the inner and outer man.)

But with Jesus, perhaps, it was
the inner man was the Logos, and not just a created thing. It is nigh infathomable, but the world itself echoes it into infinity, in great scale, and in tiny scale. As one guy said,

"It's turtles all the way down."

The fully God and fully Man thing-- creates some probably unexplainable paradoxes in the life of Jesus-- which by the way don't seem to bother him. Funny, that.

RiverCocytus said...

By which I mean, Jesus embodies his message, which is this fusing of unlike things that really are alike; the jointing of the vertical and horizontal, the temporal and eternal, he embodies it fully and completely, without blinking or saying, "Huh, now, wait a minute..." If you were to ask Jesus, "Show me by what principle you do this thing" -- you would have already beheld it, for Jesus was that message, which he brought.

And, Interested, Trinity is important for it is a 'by what principle' to explain God. God the FATHER was there at the beginning; he is infinite, and yet, his SPIRIT is hovering over the waters. And how does he create? He speaks a WORD. Elohim indeed!

Gagdad Bob said...

Not to mention, "Let us make man in our image."

RiverCocytus said...

NoMo, you missed light, which can be properly expressed as a combination of three 'light-pigments' which cooncidently reflects the three types of receptors in human eyes. Note, there are up to 5 actual types, but the light that humans see is through red, green, blue. There is also, some birds have a violet, and yet some other creatures like the hummingbird have an ultra-violet.

It must be the 3-4-5 tree of life!

Cooncidently, again, this split-level trierarchy applies to the family, which is how perhaps Paul justifies 'The Man is the Head of the Woman' with Father-Mother-Child(ren).

Ricky Raccoon said...

Dr Bob wrote, “…Jesus, because he was all-man, had to be no different than the rest of us in this respect. As such, just like us, he could not fully know or understand the nature of the drama in which he was situated.”

Perhaps like Jesus, It’s our faith that keeps us passionate. If we had material proof one way or the other of God’s existence at each of our beginnings, we wouldn’t have much passion at all in anything we did. What would be the point? Example the atheists. Not a very inspiring lot.
We’d all be yawning and looking at our watches. It’s not faith if we know.
Many times I’ve thought God was trying to show Himself in ways – but before it became too obvious, He would pull back just enough to keep me wondering.

RiverCocytus said...

Yeah, Bob, doesn't it make total sense after that, but also make it total mystery? Sense and mystery! Jesus is at it again!

Lisa said...

I do see your point, Julie. But we could also discuss the beauty of a trapezoid or tetragrammaton, etc. For example in Hebrew the spelling for a word of God that is unspoken and unpronouncable is YHVH. Each of these letters representing God,Man,Woman,Bride. Bride being the spirit produced from unification of man and woman.

I am in no way delegitimizing the importance of the number 3. I just don't see it as the end all be all.

Interesting aside, the number one or unity is Achad or A(CH)D which happens to be a three letter word. In Hebrew language all letters correspond to numbers as well. Achad yields 13 in numeric value, which can also be distilled to 4. Thirteen also is the number of portions in the beard of Macroprosopus.

It just seems like you can make a compelling case for a number of numbers and it always comes back to one. Why don't couples just stop after 1 kid and the perfect trinity?

RiverCocytus said...

Faith is not knowing but gnoing. The fusion between the know and the gno is the grok?

G (gravity) + N (nous) + O (the Man) = gnosis?

No, sis, you just gotta gno.

Seeing a miracle is one thing, but many of us may not see one in our lives (why should we require one?) because God, as the House in this great game of Massively Multiplayer Innerline Spades, knows to never Play an Ace when a Two will do.

Or, as in Bruce Almighty, God is more than just those supernatural powers; he's God!

If you, like the Israelites of old require continued miracles to just follow God, then your intent may be to know him before you gno him; which is to say, to have Proof before you have Faith. But Faith, being spiritual precedes Proof; Just as hypothesis precedes conclusion in science. So the question after 'Faith' is, Good Faith (real Faith) or bad (false) Faith?

'If you knew my Father, then you would know me.'

Because once you want Proof first, then you want more and more Proof, until which point you're probably up to 200 Proof, and need to go to WW, Wonders Wononomous.

WW = Quadyew?

Hey, how do you spell the name of 'W'?

RiverCocytus said...

Lisa: Because the third part of the trinity is infinite in the material, I.e 'Children' not just Child!

RiverCocytus said...

Which is to say, Argh, Spirit is single, but also infinite. So you might think:

Lisa said...

It's Ok, River. I get what you are saying it's just that I am saying is something slightly different and I think you are misunderstanding. Perhaps I am not explaining it well or certain things are just understood by certain people, but I do appreciate your response.

RiverCocytus said...

Ah, understood. Apologies for my temerity.

will said...

Lisa - here's my take on it.

Christ did more than just leave us a bunch of sayings and as an example of what it is to be a genuinely godly person. In "taking on the world's karma", Christ, in effect, punched a hole through the human-engendered astral soot that virtually coated the earth at the time. Before this, it had become nearly impossible for the divine Light to reach the earth. This was literally a rescue mission - had the Light not been made accessible to humanity as it was intended, then human life probably would not have been allowed to continue.

The rescue mission did not obviate evil, but it did make it possible for us to consciously choose between good and evil. I hasten to add that "choosing for the good" does not necessarily mean adapting Christianity as a religion.

Some of my Jewish friends ask, well, ok, your messiah appeared, so what changed? Personally I think what changed is the fact that we still exist as humans on the planet earth. And as Bob has pointed out, things have changed for the better in terms of civilizational stability and basic human decency, thanks to the Judaic/Christian continuum. Of course, things have also changed for the worse in many respects - but that's the cosmic scheme that Christ made clear, actually made possible, I believe. The Spirit of Truth and the Spirit of Lies - we were given a certain time in which to make a clear, unambiguous choice between the two. (and doesn't it seem to you that most of the world has already made a clear choice between good and evil and that the two sides are becoming distinctly polarized?)

In any event, then comes the "end of time" or the Parousia or whatever one wishes to call the end-game. Sheep and goats, separated. New heaven, new earth.

And that's another story.

Lisa said...

Will, TWO sides, eh? Hmmm...You say, "Personally I think what changed is the fact that we still exist as humans on the planet earth." In other words, the more things change the more they stay the same?!

I like an earlier explanation you gave that Christianity exists to help explain infinity of God using a trinity which is easier for many people to understand and embrace. It justs irks me a little that it depends on the "incompleteness" of Judaism that I happen to believe is largely misunderstood.

wv: yheaevh; yeah, heavy/heavenly alright!

will said...

Also, Lisa, re: the importance of the number 3 or the Trinity -

I think it can be viewed as the elemental archetype governing the Cosmos. Elemental opposites, dualities, constitute, are responsible for the very fabric of Creation - yin/yang, negative/positive, female/male. It is the synthesis of these opposites which give rise to substance itself.

Thesis - antithesis - synthethis. A Trinity.

The archetypal imprint of this basic Trinity is found everywhere in Creation, from above to below.

Van said...

Juliec, Lisa, et al,
Perhaps taking the discussion of YHVH, or trinities or dualities or Oneness too far aside... but remember some types of music are best played at 3/4 time, some at 4/4... others 9/8 or even 12/8... some mix them all in, but if scoring, melody, and muscian are well matched, they can all soothe the savage breast.

Lisa said...

Exactly Van!

I am not discounting the importance or symbolism of the number 3. I just don't see the need to stop there! There is beauty and patterning woven throughout the cosmos in a variety of digits.

will said...

Lisa - >>In other words, the more things change the more they stay the same?!<<

No, not really. As I explained, I believe there is an end-game, featuring the coming of the Jewish Messiah or the return of Christ - same thing, in my opinion.

I sure don't believe in the "incompleteness" of Judaism. Hue to Judaic principles and your butt is saved. It's just that I think that so very few people were actually actually spiritalized, it required a rescue mission to clear the obfuscating astral clouds away.

OK, so I'm a fool for esotericicm.

will said...

Lisa, of course other numbers have great symbolic significance, 7 and 12, for example.

It's just that the number 3, among elemental numbers, is the most elemental, this for reasons that I have already politely if not coherently stated.

I know that gleam in your eye. You're going to punch me, aren't you?

All right, go on, let's get it over with.

Van said...

I wonder if that would that would be with a quick One Two punch, or a One, Two, Three combination?

(running away now)

will said...

She could save energy and just hit me with a tripod.

Hmm, maybe I can get out of this:






Lisa said...

Sorry Will, but I would have to argue that One is the most elemental number of all, or is it O?

Ha Ha, punch you? never! maybe just stick my tongue out at you!

Sorry if I can't always toe/tow the line or is that a triangle for some of you coons....just the troublemaker in me, perhaps it explains for some of the persecution my people have endured throughout history...or maybe it's just that I am a pain in the ass...

Lisa said...

Nevermind, Will is always right!!!

See, flattery gets you everywhere!;)

Hilarious: there is no word for my word ver. will have to do it twice, perhaps even three times!

Big Possum said...

Most compelling post I have read her yet. Sach's quote re Jesus' interpretive freedom is brilliant.

Van said...

Will said "...equals synthesis/Lisa"

7th Degree Bi-Cosmic Smoothie


robinstarfish said...

shoulder shoulder head
gagdad's sword is triply dubbed
rise and serve raccoons!


Thanks, Bob. Your Official Haikoon is truly humbled. Oscar Shmoscar. :-)

Big Possum said...


Whassup. Hope you are well.

Re the "what changed" question....

Think bowling. Once the ball leaves the bowler's hand, all the information exists that determines whether or not it will be a gutter ball, a spare, a strike, or something else. Speed, spin, angle, trajectory......all of the information that determines the end result is packed into the ball. Once Jesus made the choice to go to the cross, the ball was put in motion as a strike. Sure, there have been a lot of things to happen over the last 2000 years that were not pre-determined by the ball. But, Universe algorithms were written in such a way that upon accepting death on the cross, victory was assured, and as we experience Christ's (the living God) "coming" alive in us, we participate in "playing it out".

What changed?

It's the same story the crow told me;
It's the only one he knows.
Like the morning sun you come and like the wind you go.
Ain't no time to hate, barely time to wait,
Woh - oh, what I want to know, where does the time go?

- Grateful Dead


interested said...

Bob's "cousin":

I don't deny the Godhead and its composition. Christ proclaimed his oneness with the Father but he is an independent will who gave it all to the Father even as he asks us to do. Symbolically, allegorically and spiritually they are in fact one but they have a different essence and are not merly manifestations of the same essence.

USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Interested said:
"Symbolically, allegorically and spiritually they are in fact one but they have a different essence and are not merly manifestations of the same essence."

Gno...they are GodIAmanifestastions of the same essence.

USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Lisa/Will/Juliec/Van/Cuz et al:

It seems to me that the Jews actually do believe in the Holy Trinity, in a different context (yet the same) as Christianity.

Please correct me if I am wrong, but here is my explanation:

The Jews believe in God the Father and His Holy Spirit.
They also believe in the Messiah, only difference being that He hasn't arrived yet, but that He indeed will, and Christians agree that the Messiah will come also.

Despite the major difference of wether or not the Messiah has arrived for the first time or not,
do not Jews and Christians believe that Gog is composed of Father/SonMessiah/Holy Spirit of God?

WV: juenmah...seems appropos to me.

RiverCocytus said...

Salvation: Live it, Hope it, Remember it.

will said...

Possom, I am well, thanks. Hope you are well.

And agree with your nice post-Gethsemane algorhythyms thing.

USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Coongratulations Robin Starfish!

Van said...

Robin Starfish

hollywood may try but
of all the awards tonight
Haikoon star shines light

USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Good haiku Van. I was drawin' blanks today.
I like haikus but they are difficult for me to write.

Robin is a master Haikoon!

RSF has a cool site too.

Anonymous said...

I don't know if I explained myself well-enough earlier, and perhaps this won't make it any clearer (and in all honesty, I'm just waving my hand around in the metaphorical/physical dark, feeling something brush my fingertip, and going from there, so take that for what it's worth; in all likelihood I'm announcing that an elephant is like a rope...)

The reason three is special - more special than two or four or even one is this:
While it is all One, when you get down to it, for reasons discussed here on many occasions, there must also be more-than-one for the One to know and be known (this is a very rough approximation here). With two you have duality and opposition, yin and yang, etc., but there is still something missing; instead of a opint, a line, or instead of one dimension (a line), two dimensions (a flat plane); two colors, black and white. There are many ways to conceptualize this.

Three adds another dimension to whatever you conceptualize that is not generally changed in important aspects by adding more; a plne formed by four points or eight points or fifty quadrillion points, or an infinitude of points that make it resemble a curvilinear structure is still a plane, it's just that three is the smallest number of points a plane can have and still be a plane. It is, in a way, the simplest.

To put it another way, somebody else used the analogy of color. Every color that exists is a result of the interactions between the three primary colors. Black is the presence of all possible colors, and white is the absence of all possible colors (or the opposite, if you are talking about how light is reflected and absorbed). Every other color comes from those three. If you take away any one of them, you can have only a gradient between the remaining two, and a vastly diminished palette. Take away one more, and you have simple monochrome; Sure it can get the job done, but much becomes lost in translation. With three, everything is possible.

Yes, other numbers are important and have relevance and power, but three is the simplest complexity; I don't know how to explain it beyond that. Two is not complex, nor by definition is one. Four is complex, but not as simple.

I don't know if I've clarified my posiion, or just muddied the waters.

Ah, well - take it for what it's worth. If it were the Holy Quadroon, I'd probably be arguing just as strongly in favor of squares ; )

River Cocytus said...

Four is important, but in a different way. If God is with you, then its a four-tet; You, The Father, The Son, and the Holy Ghost.

Interestingly we have the four beasts, four winds, four elements, etc. Four I think probably represents the interaction the perfect God with the imperfect creation. Four is too stable a number? Not certain about that. But, there is the fact that any quadrilateral can be expressed as two joined triangles. In short, planar-ly, 'four' is just 'three' and 'three'. So, still inherently three.

River Cocytus said...

So, to expand that analogy; to get a basic plane (three sides) out of lines, you have to connect them end to end to make the plane. It would take literally an infinite number of lines (think of integrals) to create the surface of a triangle, as a line has no actual planar surface. Thus the animal, which is a duality of sorts, or the infrahuman, or any expression that reduces a trinity to a duality creates a literally infinite gap.

But, with the four sided shape, interestingly, it only takes two triangles put edge to edge to make it. In fact, any quadrilateral can be expressed as 2 -> (infinity) triangles. So four is like the number of societies; for they require a simple partnership of two.

It takes a minimum of three triangles to make a pentagon; so if a family is a trinity of trinities then its number is five.

If then the number of societies is four, then four triangles makes a hexagon, or six, which is the number of man.

Twelve, which is a number expressing completeness, is four and three; indicating a right relationship perhaps between God and man.

The minimal solid has four points. So, that looks like the interaction between God and us.

But, if we are a trinity, then the interaction between us and God as a trinity is a prism.

Add a point of light and you have seven.

Hmmmm. I'm sure someone has mused on this a thousand times over already.

wv: nestt?