Monism and dualism


(Roger A. Sawtelle) #1

There seems very little interest in this approach to cosmology. Perhaps because it presents just another false dichotomy, this time East vs West.

There are several problems with this discussion. The main one is that we are given only two alternatives, monism vs dualism

Monism is the scientific view. There is no problem with Mind/Body dualism for materialism. The mind is just another part of the body. Obviously God cannot intervene in nature, because their is no God. However when everything is material, there is no spiritual and there is no rational. Material monism solves one problem, but created two more. What it tries to do is ignore these new problems, because for materialists they theoretically do not exist.

The temptation that theologians face is temptation to solve this problem the same way that materialists do, which isw making reality over into a monism, but a spiritual monism instead of a materialistic monism. So instead of a mind/body dualism, you have a mind or spiritual monism. This is basically the Eastern mystical Orthodox approach to cosmology. Again you solve the dualism problem, but not the issue of the reality of matter/energy.

Dualism is the default Western point of view. It has its own set of serious problems. No one really like it, but no one has found a better alternative. This of course leads me to the third alternative, which a cosmology built on three. Not body/mind, but body, mind, and spirit. The problem is not that people have tried it and found it wanting, but that they have not tried it, and seem determined not to try it. How is this scientific or based on faith?


Divine Action: Naturalism and Incarnation
(Alice Linsley) #2

Dualism is not a biblical view, of course. The biblical view avoids dualism by observing that one entity in a binary set is observably superior in some way to its counterpart. The Sun, for example, is noted to be the greater light, superior to the Moon. That which is “above” is regarded to be superior to that which is “below.”

I found this statement interesting: “The classic Western separation of grace and nature, for example, simply does not exist in the Christian East, because grace is seen as being implied in God’s act of creation.” This is truer today than in the past when this view was more broadly accepted in the Western Church (before the Reformation). The view is especially well articulated in St. Athanasius of Alexandria’s De Incarnatione Verbi Dei. He wrote, “God knew the limitation of mankind, you see; and though the grace of being made in His Image was sufficient to give them knowledge of the Word and through Him of the Father, as a safeguard against their neglect of this grace, He provided the works of creation also as means by which the Maker might be known. Nor was this all. Man’s neglect of the indwelling grace tends ever to increase; and against this further frailty also God made provision by giving them a law, and by sending prophets,men whom they knew. Thus, if they were tardy in ooking up to heaven,they might still gain knowledge of the Maker from those close at hand; for men can learn directly about higher things from other men. Three ways thus lay open to them, by which they might obtain the knowledge of God.” This is a marvelous treatise and I commend it to you.


(Jo Helen Cox) #3

Bit confused with your rationalization here. Was this taken from another thread? Something is out of context here.

My Paraphrase:
Monism is scientific. Dualism is materialism, with no God, spirit or rational. But then monism solves and creates problems. Some how this gets to the difference between mind/body dualism and mind or spirit of monism, but still with a dualism problem, but not matter/energy.

Then you say that people have not tried a cosmology built on three: body, mind, spirit.

What? How does dualism only relate to materialism or reject God? The segregation of body, mind, spirit is based on Gnostic beliefs. Why stop at three? They also believed that the body and mind were essentially evil, prisons for the spirit. Those beliefs infected Christianity adversely.

How does any of that relate to cosmology?


(Roger A. Sawtelle) #4

@Jo_Helen_Cox

Thank you for the questions. I know that it can be confusing. Let us begin with mind/body dualism, which is the standard Western model. This should be simple, but it is not. First one would expect that that the entire body would be physical, but it is not. While the body is composed of fleah and blood, but it also contains nerve tissue which is part of the mind. Also the brain is part of the mind.

In addition some people see the mind as the soul (Greek, psyche, which is the basis of the discipline of psychology), which includes the spirit. Others see the mind as the Greek nous, which is the seat of knowing, but is separate from the spirit.

Now materialists like Dawkins are monists because they maintain that only the physical exists. They do not make any practical distinction between the body and the mind, that in effect claiming that the brain is a mechanical machine, when it is not. It is a thinking or rational machine, like a computer is a thinking machine.

Mind/body dualists confuse the mind (nous) as the seat of knowing with the spirit which is the seat of will. They are separate and distinct as most psychologies indicate. Id is the body ands its needs. Ego is the mind/nous and its needs, Super Ego is the spirit and its needs.

Today’s materialist are monists for ideological reasons. (Idealists are also monists in that they believe that only ideas or the mind is real.) If only the physical is real, then non-physical, ideas and thinking are not real.

Today’s theologians are mind/body dualists. Their problem is the interface between the mind and body and the confusion of the mind and spirit.

My position is to affirm the reality and importance of the body, mind, and spirit as the triune Image of God. The secret of this understanding is the realization that all three, the body, mind, and spirit are relational, but in different ways. They are both one and many, unique and similar.

The Gnostics were aptly named. They believed that knowledge, usually esoteric knowledge led to salvation. They claimed to be Christian, but they most likely grew out of the mystery cults, which were pagan. They clearly believed in the superiority of the mind or knowledge over the body/physical or the spirit, thus they do not quality as proponents of a triune world view that maintains that humans are one and many, created in the triune Image of God. The Gnostics did not imperil Christianity, but the dualistic philosophical ideas they represented did.

Cosmology is how we look at the structure of reality. Humanity is at the center of our understanding of how we understand reality.


(Jo Helen Cox) #5

Not buying this as reality, probably because I am not a Trinitarian. You define reality using philosophy but no real evidence.

Trinitarian beliefs developed from arguments against assorted Gnostic beliefs that degraded the One God within Christianity. Gnosticism entered Christianity again as the dark ages ended and people started reading ancient texts. Insisting all those people were not practicing Christians is a bit judgmental. Many of the problems debated by the early church theologians are still debated today. Making Trinitarianism dogma did not solve the problems, but it did make it easier to condemn brothers and splinter the church.

The early Christian population of gentiles understood as reality the Greek concept of body, soul, and spirit. They segregated the inner workings of each human therefore it was okay to segregate God into three as long as they insisted that the Triune God was also one. Beliefs do not make reality, nor does belief make them biblical.

Humans are idiocentric. We only understand reality from our limited and selfish viewpoint, which means that most (all?) philosophical positions are distortions of reality. No one has yet put a spirit, or God, under a microscope with any form of methodology that can be repeated. There is no empirical evidence either exist. We believe they do. Some of us know from experience that they do. A few have empirical evidence (miracles) that they attribute to God. But that still requires belief, which is distorted by viewpoint based on what is believed.

Your definition of cosmology is not actually the definition of the word. Cosmology is our understanding of the structure of the universe. What is understood is that the universe is singular within itself. What we know of life is that it is singular upon this planet. What we know of humanity is that it is singular. Everything relates to everything else back to a singular beginning. Every unique thing comprises one unique thing. The universe is one like its Creator is One.

Nothing I can think of, except human philosophy, points to a universal concept of three.


(Roger A. Sawtelle) #6

@Jo_Helen_Cox

Certainly if you are not a Trinitarian, this is a problem. I am not using philosophy to prove something, but I am using logic, which is the way people think and solve problems. If you reject that, then we are in deep trouble.

Trinitarian beliefs developed from arguments against assorted Gnostic beliefs that degraded the One God within Christianity.

Factually that is incorrect. The Trinity has its roots in the struggle against Arius, who said that the Father was superior to the Son. Athanasius said that the Son was coequal to the Father, because They are both eternally and fully God. In this respect and all other respects the Trinity affirms the Unity of God.

Gnosticism comes from the Greek gnosis, meaning knowledge. It developed from teachers who said that they had special knowledge of God outside the Bible. They wrote the gnostic “gospels” to justify this special knowledge, which they dais came from the risen Christ, Who was different from the historical Jesus.

Of course the Trinity does not solve all the problems and of course gnostics still survive. I live across for a Christian Science Church. They believe that true knowledge or gnosis or science as explained by May Baker Eddy dhows that sin, evil, sickness, and death do not exist.

The early Christian population of gentiles understood as reality the Greek concept of body, soul, and spirit. They segregated the inner workings of each human therefore it was okay to segregate God into three as long as they insisted that the Triune God was also one.

What is the source of this information? It would seem that most people of this time would be soul/body dualists after Socrates and Plato.

No one has yet put a spirit, or God, under a microscope with any form of methodology that can be repeated.

No one has put a thought or ideas under a microscope with any form of methodology that can be repeated. First we have deal with the mind/body question. Just because the mental and rational is different from the physical does not mean it does not exist, which is want monists claim.

You use the word “idiocentric,” where most people would use “egocentric.” If you mean based on the id or the sensual and instinctual, I do not know any id which focused a microscope on anything, just rational egos who engage in efforts to understand ourselves and our world.

Of course these efforts of understanding are not perfect. We are imperfect limited beings. Indeed if Reality were simple and obvious, rather than complex and requiring research, than would be great evidence for a uniform, simple monistic universe, which does not exist. Humans cannot exist and flourish in a complex, but unified universe unless they share that complex, but unified nature.

It seems strange to me and to most people that some people can use their minds to declare that their minds so not exist.

The universe is one like its Creator is One.

I quite agree. Where we disagree is that I and most people, although truth is not based on majority rule, understand the Creator as Trinity, Three and One, which is back where we started, but at least we understand each other.


(Jo Helen Cox) #7

Probably got the id/ego thing backwards. That happens in my head.

I understand that the majority of Christians have been taught and believe the Trinity is the best description of God. However, the theology is not described as such by any biblical writer. That is what bothers me the most.

Yes, Trinitarianism matured in the debates surrounding Arius, but the debates concerning the true nature of Jesus started between the Apostles and their fellow Jews, who could not accept that a human was the God of their ancestors. These debates escalated with Paul teaching gentiles. Those people had no experience believing in One God, nor could they comprehend how a perfect and immortal God could become an imperfect mortal and die.

Christians came up with a huge number of explanations (Docetism). These had to be addressed and rejected. However, not all were rejected, some solutions influenced Trinitarianism. The primary influence separated Jesus from Father in more than just a physical way (incarnate). “Coequal” lets Tritheism and Arianism exist in the minds of the majority of Christians because “essence” is so incredibly vague.

History shows that once two gods were acceptable then they added Spirit. Demigods (saints and angels) quickly became standard to adore. They were given responsibilities that the Bible says are God’s alone. The set up of heaven resembles Hermeticism, an influence of Gnosticism. Trust and allegiance segregated. The Bible bluntly says to worship and trust only the One God.

If the history of Trinitarianism shows it developed over time and by non-Jews, how is that different from the Gnostic’s “special knowledge outside the Bible”?


(Roger A. Sawtelle) #8

@Jo_Helen_Cox

Thank you for your response.

You are certainly correct. The Trinity is not depicted in the Bible. The issue in the New Testament is, Is Jesus the Messiah (or the Christ?) Clearly the Church has made its mind up long ago, so most of us think that Christ is the last name of Jesus, rather than the Greek form of Messiah. Most of us also do not really understand who the Jewish Messiah was.

However the Jews have never accepted Jesus as their Messiah and this is why He was crucified. Now the situation is this, the Messiah was not just an ordinary human being. Psalm 2:7 says:

7 I will proclaim YHWH’s decree:
He said to me, “You are My Son;
today I have become Your Father.

This is a Messianic Psalm which refers to the Messiah the Son of God (YHWH.)

In response to the question, "Who do you say I am? Peter says in Mt 16:16, “You are the Christ (Messiah), Son of the Living God.” In Mark and Luke the Messiah is not connected to the Son of the Living God.

In John Jesus the Logos is depicted as being co-eternal with God the Father. Jesus says that the Father and I are one. Throughout the gospels Jesus makes it clear that He is the Messiah and that He as the Messiah has extraordinary authority. Also that the way to salvation is through faith in Jesus as the Messiah. “No one comes to the Father but by Me.”

What is very clear from the NT is that Jesus was the Messiah and not an ordinary human being. Unfortunately there is no intermediate being between God and humans so Jesus was either God or human or now we see Jesus as fully God and full human.

Jewish theology could net accept this. Christian theology had to invent a new concept of God called the Trinity to take account of this. The message of Jesus is about change, not standing still or going backwards. New wine, new revelations from God, requires new wineskins or new theology.

Now you and I reject the adoration of Mary and the saints. Angels have been around since the OT. I really do not think that this is because of the Trinity. In fact we have the Holy Spirit to bring messages from God, not angels any longer.

I would suggest that you read a good history of the Trinity or On the Trinity by Augustine. It is based on a solid basis of facts and information from the Bible, not outside of it. All three Persons are clearly defined in the New and Old Testaments. It is the best way to understand God’s Salvation History in the Bible and in the Church. It is most strange that people want limit it to the Bible.


(Jo Helen Cox) #9

Thank you. I am enjoying our exchange as I have enjoyed many of your posts. Augustine and several other early theologians are on my very long list of round to its. But, most of them were already devoted Trinitarians who left too much of the Gnostic ideals in their theology.

I do not deny the divinity of Jesus or that He was the Messiah. I believe Jesus was 100% human to be the Messiah. He was 100% God or His death would not have brought salvation. But I take His statements in John 5:19, 10:30, 14:9 literally. He and the Father are one in the same entity, only separated for the time Jesus was a human on earth. I do reject separating the Spirit of God into a separate “person” from God. The ancient prophets always expressed that presence as God. The Spirit is God working within our reality, no segregation needed. God lives inside us and whispers in our ears by using His Spirit. We are God’s Temples.

What does Son of God mean? Psalm 2:7 is similar to Psalm 82:6 which Jesus references in John 10:34. Jesus said all believers are sons of God He called Himself the Son of Man. One reason for that was the Greek interpretation of “Son of God” made His identity separate from the Father. It eventually gave Him a separate personality.

Yep, invented. I take Deuteronomy 13:1-5 very seriously. The Jewish leaders should have used it as a test to see if Jesus was a prophet of God. Most did not. Did the early church fathers know to do so with their theology?

Trinitarianism did not get rid of adoration of any of these. It did not get rid of mysticism or esoteric beliefs. The fact is these practices became standard beliefs and are still common within the church, both Catholic and Protestant.

The Holy Spirit is not a replacement for angels. We have the extreme honor of God living within our bodies/minds/souls. He will talk to us and guide us if we listen. That does not reject angels as messengers of God today.

All three persons are not clearly defined in the Old or New Testaments as they are defined by Trinitarianism. One must be a Trinitarian to see those examples. The theology was invented, then people found hidden messages to support the theology. That is esoteric, which contradicts Deuteronomy 30:11-14. If God hid His true identity from all the prophets in the Old Testament, then He lied to them. Or they lied about who God was. Neither should be trusted.


(Roger A. Sawtelle) #10

@Jo_Helen_Cox

I am glad that you are enjoying the dialog, because it seems to me that I do not understand how you come to your position, unless you have determined you have the ability to tell God how God must reveal Godself to humanity.

Jesus did not say that He was one Entity with the Father. Many people have tried to say this, but if so the whole NT is a lie, Jesus when talking to the Father is NOT talking to Himself.

When you make the Messiah as the Son of God in Psalm 2 a generic son of God, you eliminate the Messianic aspect of this statement, so it becomes meaningless. There is no way the Messiah can be the Father.

There is no way the Logos can be the Father and have John 1:1 make any sense. There is no way the Father could have sent the Father to die for the sins of the world. Please read the Letter to the Hebrews, written toby a “Jewish” Christian to “Jewish” Christians telling them in as the strongest way possible not to go back the OT covenant.

There is nothing in Deu 30:11-14 that contradicts the Trinity.

If God hid His true identity from all the prophets in the Old Testament, then He lied to them. Or they lied about who God was. Neither should be trusted.

You are using the logic of YEC. If Genesis is wrong, God is a liar. God dis not deny the Trinity in the OT. It is in the first three verses of the Bible. However God did not reveal God full identity until the time had come to send Jesus the Messiah/Word to come into the world to live and die for our sins and give all those who believe on Him Eternal Life.

That is the way God did it. That is the way we need to accept it.


(Jo Helen Cox) #11

Hum… You agree that God did not reveal Trinity to the Jews in thousands of years, yet I am the one who is telling God how He reveals Himself? What acclaimed prophet of God pronounced this big change to the world? None. It was invented in increments, built up through arguments, until a generation proclaimed it dogma. Dogma is used to force compliance and condemn any who question. Is that how God reveals Himself?

I believe Jesus, a Jew, would object. He believed God revealed Himself and truth to the Jews (John 4:21-24) even if the Jewish population did not always get it. Jesus believed the Jews would be punished because they did not believe what they were told. Why would God insist that the Jews worship only one God, punish them for not complying, and then reveal His true identity to gentiles after most of the Jews were separated from the Church? Why didn’t Jesus make such a change known? Why didn’t any of His apostles or disciples comprehend such a major change? Why should I accept 3=1 as a true statement when nothing in nature and nothing in the Bible requires me to believe such a false mathematical statement?

I do not use YEC logic (which is rarely logical). These are simply my questions and the solution I have formed to comply with biblical teachings. I do agree with the YEC, and Augustine, that if Genesis One is false then the entire Bible cannot be trusted. Everything is based on the premise that God created everything and that He can be trusted. If such a basic concept as God’s identity was kept from the Jews then why should anyone believe that the gentiles actually have a glimmering of truth? That would include revelation from the Spirit. Why should we trust?

Deuteronomy 30:11-14 tells us that God’s ways are not complected. This is not just law, but that truth should be simple. We do not need to go searching into other religions to find truth. God gave truth from the beginning in a simple enough form that even children could understand. Religions like complicated theology (esoteric) as it provides status and job security. Jewish and Christian religions have done the same even though the prophets and Jesus taught against it. The early Christian theologians accepted and incorporated non-Jewish beliefs as they invented Trinitarianism. God said He was One. Jesus said He and the Father were one, not two, not three, but ONE. That simplicity contradicts Trinitarian theology which requires institutions of theologians to unravel mysteries and find hidden messages. It is still being modified and is still difficult to explain. Trinity is complicated. One is simple.

The first three verses in the Bible do not reveal Trinity. Elohim was the Hebrew form of a word used throughout the Levant. It simply means gods, a plural. It does not mean three. Coupled with a singular noun, it becomes singular. The writer used this form to audaciously proclaim his God different and all other gods unnecessary. This same message is echoed by the prophets. Moses did not considered this structure to mean his God was plural. Jesus never proclaimed that we should worship more than one. Only one is necessary.

That is a statement of dogma not fact. Withholding basic information was not how God did anything. Trinitarianism rejects God’s blunt statements in favor of snippets of verses that support an interpretation of man based on non-Jewish philosophies to explain things to a non-Jewish population. It has been accepted as truth far too long.

The early theologians started with their philosophy of what a perfect God could do, which limited God’s abilities. They then answered the question, “How can Father and Son be one God.” They should have started with, “God is One. Father and Son are One. How does that work?”


(Roger A. Sawtelle) #12

@Jo_Helen_Cox

You are not responding to my argument. Jesus is the Messiah sent by God the Father to save the world, Jews and pagans from their sin and create a new Kingdom of God based not on the Mosaic covenant and law, but on faith and obedience to the Holy Spirit.

This is the new thing that God did through Jesus, redeem the world, not reveal the Trinity. But the emergence of the Messiah as the Son of God Who is NOT identical with God the Father, and the Holy Spirit Who is God in Us and through us means that a new understanding of God is needed.

Salvation drives theology, not the other way around. When salvation changed, when the New Covenant came into existence through Jesus, a new theology or understanding of shat it means to be one of God’s people was required,

God is still One. That has never changed. God is also Three, which is new but does not make a difference in Who God is, but how God works.

You said that Jesus was separated from the Father when He was in the flesh. (Note that Jesus arose with a body and still has a body as far as we know to date.) If the Father and the Son can be “separated” temporarily, then why not eternally. Is God changeable in that way? These are the questions that the Church Fathers asked, and they came to different conclusions from what you say. I agree with them.

Trinity is complicated. One is simple.

Exactly. The Trinity is complicated, or I prefer complex, because life and Reality is complex. People are complex as is nature, and thus do does Truth and God need to be complex. Christians just can’t go around talking simplistic nonsense ., even though we might believe it is true. That has YEC written all over it.

One is not necessarily simple. The OT demonstrates that God is personal, whi9ch means God is complex. We are created in the Image of God and Jesus is the exact Image of God. We are personal, complex and unified beings with body, mind, and spirit, just as God is One and Three, unified and diverse. How could Jesus the MESSIAH be the exact Image of God if God were Simple and thus be unable to think or act.

God created humans in God’s Image so God could bring us up to God’s level through Jesus and the Ho0ly Spirit, not to let us bring God down to our level of simplistic understanding.


(Jo Helen Cox) #13

Not quite sure which argument I am not responding to. I have no problem with this first paragraph, except that you do not see that Father Son and Spirit are the same.

If God did not reveal the Trinity through Jesus, through whom did He reveal it? In the Old Testament, when God says He will do a “new thing,” it is He who reveals it to a prophet so that people would know before it happened. The new covenant was revealed to come. The kingdom was revealed to come. The Messiah was revealed to come. Trinity was not.

I disagree that Jesus is “NOT identical with God the Father.” The only difference in Father and Son is that Father is everywhere and every-when and Son is limited within His humanity. He is our example. As a human, He listened and obeyed the Father. This is how we should conduct our lives. That does not give Jesus a separate identity, personality or action from the Father. God wants us to loose our selfish identity and put on Him, become one with Him.

Salvation does not drive theology any more than theology drives salvation. Salvation did not change with the new covenant. God always saved. The name “Jesus” means God saves. The new covenant did not require new theology as to the nature of God or to what it meant to be one of God’s people. Those things did not change.

You state truth then contradict it with something God never claimed. God has never changed who He is or how He works. Human theology redefined who God was and segregated His works between. Then that same progression of changing theology gave a lot of God’s ability to work over to saints and angels.

One = three is an illogical statement. Always has been, yet theology insists God requires us to believe in something illogical.

Yes, the body of Jesus was kept. God is not separated from His creation. Why He did so was not explained.

God can do anything, but Trinity does not sufficiently answer your questions. Trinitarianism asserts that God was co-eternal, but never revealed this truth to any Jew, including the apostles. The body of Jesus had little or nothing to do with that belief since co-eternal means that Jesus existed before He had a body.

Does God keep the body of Jesus eternally or is it only until the end of time? Unknown.

You agree with the Church Fathers because that is what your dogma tells you to believe. You are versed in the Christology that accompanies it. However, those early Christian theologians spent their lives answering Gnostic questions. They shared a similar cultural background so had the same questions. The difference was they insisted that the Bible said God was One. Gnostic beliefs insisted that a perfect God could not do certain things, like becoming an imperfect human. Segregating God was simpler then realizing that their concept of a perfect God was flawed.

Simplicity is a universal concept, not YEC. Mathematicians love simplicity. There is a saying, when scientists finally understand a concept it can be stated in a way simple enough for children to understand. That shows that all the complexity of the universe can be shown in simple formats. YEC tends to get very mystical or overly complicated just like Trinitarianism has throughout the ages. Both say they are simple but are not.

One is simple. Being personal and one makes God easier to access. I do not have to wonder if I need to pray to Father, Son, or Spirit. I don’t need angels and saints either, just one loving Daddy. That One God always wanted to be that accessible. God wanted to be the Jews only deity. They chose multiple. God wanted the Jews to follow His direction. They wanted a human king. They did not want to listen. How is that different from the history of Christianity?

This is actually one of those Gnostic beliefs/questions. God is too perfect to think or act. God is to high and holy to interact with sinful humans or even have emotions. – Humans limited what God could and could not do. Their beliefs required the segregation of God so that some part of God could think and act. Instead, the One God could always think and act without being multiple.

Humans are the Image of God. Jesus was a human. He quoted scripture to insist that followers of God were sons of God. Therefore “Image of God” and “Son of God” define humanity not God. God embodied man (incarnate) as the Messiah. The Bible never defines Him as a secondary God. The human mind of Jesus was subordinate to the Father because human brains do not have the capacity to know everything. The Father acted through Jesus to teach humans to act like God. To act like Jesus is to act like the Father. God as the Spirit lives within His children. That theology is simple with no need to add complicated theology. It does not require redefining the word “is” in the statements: God is One; God is Father; God is Son; God is Spirit. One = One is logical and biblical.

God came to us on a level we could understand. The problem is, our misunderstandings always over complicates everything. We pile on explanations until nothing is simple. The prophets fought and died to instruct the Israelites in the worship of only one God. Only after there were few Jews left in Christianity, One God became three. The progression away from One God to three is based on trying to understand but starting with Gnostic ideals instead of simply taking God at His word.


(Roger A. Sawtelle) #14

God the Father so loved the world 6that He sent His Only begotten Son do that whosoever believes in Him will not perish but have everlasting life with God.

The Father and the Son are two. No one comes to the Father but by the Son. The Bible calls for us to believe in Jesus, which makes Him divine. This is the reason why the Jews rejected Jesus as the Messiah.

For the Jews and Christians God is personal, which means a complex one being. For Greek philosophy the supernatural is simple and not personal, which is why the Gnostics believed in a simple Absolute God. Allah is a Simple Absolute God, which is why Islam rejects the Trinity.

God wants us to loose our selfish identity and put on Him, become one with Him.

Amen. But 1) we cannot do this in our own human strength or we would be equal to God already. This is why Jesus came to show us the Way and God gives us the Holy Spirit to empower our change.

2) You say that the way that Jesus was one with the Father because Jesus was by nature God. Since humans are not by nature God and cannot be by nature God, how can we be one with God?

  1. this is the NT covenant which is about changing one’s spirit, while the OT covenant is about changing one’s behavior. A new model of salvation leads to a new theology.

God is Father; God is Son; God is Spirit. One = One is logical and biblical.

True. God is also Three, which is also logical and Biblical. Humans are both one and many. We are one in that we are individuals. When we are not one, when we are out of sync with ourselves, we are sick and require healing to get back to our oneness. But we are also complex in that we are composed of body, mind, and spirit. One person, three personal components. In this way we are created in the Image of God.

Some people try to reduce humans to their bodies which false. Other humans try to reduce humans to their spirits of souls, which is also wrong. Humans are complex diverse beings, which is the way God made us and Jesus recognized that we are all created in the Image of God and we need to love everyone, which does not mean treat everyone the same, but as individuals.

instead of simply taking God at His word.

Taking God as His Word means Jesus Christ is the LOGOS.


(Jo Helen Cox) #15

Biblically God is One, never two or three.

No one comes to the Father but by the Son. The God of creation sees HIs followers through the eyes of His humanity. He hears our cries and praises through human ears. This statement means we cannot say, “God does not understand.”

The John 1 proclamation was not meant to segregate but to reassure. This can be seen in the blunt statements inside that same book. Jesus calls Father and Son one in John 10:30 and is shocked that Philip did not realize this already in John 14:9.

The humanity of Jesus does not require two deities. It is humanism and anthropomorphism that requires two. Jews accepted Jesus as God, but rejected two and three gods. In turn, Gnostic Christians rejected Jews because they rejected two and tree gods.

Greek philosophy mucked up Christianity from its beginning. Their ultra conservative definition of “simple” put limits on how personal God could be. This misunderstanding has plagued the church for 2000 years and the Jews for several hundred years longer.

God makes us holy. As we daily accept Him as our leader, guide, king, priest etc. He remakes our being into His likeness by adding His Spirit to our spirit. When our souls are accepted into heaven our oneness becomes complete. We no longer require unity. A wedding of spirits is different from a wedding of flesh. Two really become one.

If we reject the goodness of God, if we reject the need of repentance, then our soul starts to die. The spirit that God put into every human dies with it. A dead soul has no place in heaven.

As we accept the likeness of God, our behavior changes and our soul changes. The model of salvation between the Old and New Testaments are the same. God alone saves. You are talking about Law not covenant. Law was to teach righteousness to thick headed humans. Law only worked when the leaders understood the need for internal change and did not use it to control the masses. God’s ways were always defined by the word love.

You are contradicting yourself in this paragraph, but because of dogma you do not see it. When has 1=3 ever been logical except in the convolutions of theology? Where is it stated in the Bible? Greek philosophy, particularly the Gnostic Christians, segregated body soul spirit and proclaimed our bodies prisons for our spirit. When we become “many” we end up in the nut house. You call this out of sync and sick. Then you turn around and say we are one with three components to be the image of God. That describes a Triune God who is out of sync and sick. Christians should be in the nut house for following such convoluted foolishness.

Both Gnosticism and humanism segregate our existence by rejecting wholeness. These philosophies also segregate person from person. Paul commented on this in 1 Corinthians 12. We don’t love each other. We don’t even love ourselves.

Logos does not mean separate. The logos said, “I and the Father are one.”


(Roger A. Sawtelle) #16

@Jo_Helen_Cox

We are talking past each other. You are insisting that oneness means one entity, and it isw clear to me that it does not.

Jesus, the Messiah and Son of God was born of a woman, baptized by John the Baptizer, performed signs and miracles, was crucified on a cross, laid lifeless in a tomb, raised from the dead, appeared to His disciples, rose to heaven, and appeared to Saul, who later was known as Paul of Tarsus. He died for my sins and the sins of the whole world.

None of these things can be said of God the Father. They are two distinct Persons Who One in their divinity. They are One in their Love through the Holy Spirit as Jesus prayed in the Garden (John 17:20-26) Christians are One in the Spirit with God and with each other, just as the Father, the Son, and the Spirit are One. That is what the Trinity is about. It is a Oneness of relationship, not of divine nature, because humans are not God, but we can relate to God aa God relaters to us…

The Gnostics are not the cause or source of the Trinity. The Trinity was formulated before Gnosticism really developed. The Trinity is anti-Gnostic. The Gnostics were a movement, not a sect, with a number of different teachers. who taught different ideas and had their own private gospels.

Humans are composed of body, mind, and spirit. If there are not different but are all the same entity, then sickness is impossible. Christians believe that the body, mind, and spirit are given to us by God to work together for God’s glory. They are not segregated, what ever that means, but integrated as one person loving God with all one’s heart, mind, and body.

Christian Science is a gnostic belief. They believe that evil does not exist, sickness does not exist, death does not exist, all of these things are in the mind and are the product of wrong thinking… Only God exists. Is that what you believe? .


(Jo Helen Cox) #17

Not a “Christian Scientist” though am a Christian who loves science. :blush:

Totally believe your second paragraph.

I believe the human body, soul, and spirit are much more integrated than you seem to believe. While physically alive they function as one. Only in death are they separated. The physical body returns to the dust of its origin. We inherit God’s breath (spirit) from Adam. The soul is part physical and part spiritual. It connects the other two. If we live a life being good like God, our soul and spirit live. If we live an evil life, our soul dies before physical death. It is not the image of God.

Sickness is impossible? Not sure what your are talking about here. If we have a physical body then we can have sickness. If we have a physical mind we can have sickness. If the body, soul and spirit act as the same entity, they are still susceptible to the same sicknesses. When they do not function as one, then the person ends up nuts.

Paul preached against early forms of Gnosticism but never proposed Trinity as the best description of the nature of God. He was a Jew and believed in only the One God. So Trinity theology, and the Christology that is associated with it, developed alongside Christian Gnosticism. They were bickering factions for hundreds of years. Trinitarians became the majority and were able to reject all opposing theologies by calling them Gnostic.

I have looked at multiple interpretations of the nature of God. I found Gnosticism totally unbiblical with the amount of mysticism involved. Some of their solutions are even rather ridiculous. Trinity is much better but has too many big problems in it to be logical. Even in your defense of Trinity you contradict yourself to support opposite sides of the interpretation. It sounds simple but is so convoluted that it can not be explained, even by a smart guy like you who believes in it.

One of my big questions was, why did Jesus have to die. He begged to find another way. As a co-eternal Godhead He should have been better prepared. That means He had a 100% human emotional reaction. He only knew what he could see, touch, smell, and feel as a human. He did have better reading comprehension so knew what was coming but it still shocked Him. He may have had more direct contact with the Father, but He said we have the same access… The Spirit had put on quite a show with miracles, but Jesus knew that God would not change what was about to happen.

None of that answers why he had to die. The answer is not in sin. God forgave sins throughout the OT. Jesus forgave sins as readily as healing. God forgives. The answer is not in Mosaic Law or Covenant. No passage accepts a human as sacrifice for the sins of another.

The answer is in Genesis 15 and the covenant with Abraham. That legal contract required the defaulting parties death. If the primary party was alive and well, then a substitute was not acceptable. God took the responsibility for the compliance of both parties. If Abraham or one of his descendants sinned God had to die. The Spiritual nature of Jesus had to be the same as Father or the death would not have been sufficient. By taking Abraham’s place, God did not only pay for the Israelites sins but the sins of all humanity.

That did not explain Father, Son, Spirit problem though. When theology fails and ask God for help. I had one of those light bulb moments with a documentary about Einstein. E=MC2 actually describes the nature of God better than all of Christianities convolutions. It has similarities to Trinity, but none of the tendencies to slide into Polytheism.

Energy is very fast mass, and mass is very slow energy. The only difference between energy and mass is its speed.

Father is everywhere. That means He never leaves anywhere or it might stop existing. The OT description of God and the Spirit is fire, light, brightness etc. That is a basic description of energy. Within the natural universe, God “embodied” energy as the Spirit of God. That is what we see, feel, or hear. Every one of the biblical miracles could be accomplished by using some form of energy. That is why the Spirit of God is never given a separate personality biblically. Energy has no personality, but God does.

For 33 years, God slowed down long enough to play in the dirt with His favorite creations, the sons of God. God became Son of Man. The Creator of the universe was not only with creation, He was creation. He did not simply speak from a Mountaintop. He giggled with His pals. Jesus did not have a separate personality from Father. His human personality was the personality of God. However, being 100% human, the brain of Jesus could not hold the knowledge of everything. That is why Jesus prayed to God. He only had the knowledge of a human or knowledge given as needed through God’s Spirit. Jesus showed us how easy it is to interact with God. He showed us that we can live a sinless life totally devoted to Father. He showed us how loving, merciful, and forgiving God truly is.

The only difference between Father, Son, and Spirit is the speed taken within creation.

The death of Jesus was natural. What He did in death is still a mystery, but the tidbits sound pretty cool and very good for us. However, most of the stuff said about this event is based on non-Jewish beliefs that include forms of mysticism.

In the resurrection of Jesus energy and matter combined in a form never seen before. A physical being could appear in locked rooms.

Jesus had to return to being one with Father to accomplish so many more good things. God kept the physical body of Jesus. He is our High Priest and King, someone we can relate to. Will that physical form be needed for eternity? Can God become untangled from creation? Would He want to? All unknown until the end of time.

A change happened between OT Spirit and NT Spirit. It is not that God changed but how Spirit interacts within people. This was predicted in OT scripture. Only a few OT people were granted the honor and they all became prophets. The Spirit in us has a wider range of expression and within a larger segment of the population. The Spirit is still part of Jesus who is still human while being 100% one Father. The Spirit is more personable and lives within even believers who still sin. Through the Spirit living within us, God/Jesus speaks to us and comforts us.

There is no need for three when One God does it all. That is biblical.

One can argue that no Christian could have viewed God by using E=MC2. That is true. However they all had the OT texts that insisted on One God only. They simply accepted their cultures viewpoint over the one presented by the Jews. Also throughout history, groups repeatedly suggested modifications to return to One God. Those people were sometimes exterminated, just like Jewish prophets.


(Roger A. Sawtelle) #18

@Jo_Helen_Cox

Paul definitely was a Jew who believed that Jesus was not the divine Messiah/Son of God, which was the reason he violently opposed Christianity and persecuted Christians.

So why did he change his mind? The Bible says that that the risen Christ confronted him of the road to Damascus. Paul believed because the Risen Jesus revealed Himself to him. He saw for himself that Jesus Christ is YHWH or Lord.

Now the question is Why can’t you take the word of Paul, rather some metaphysical claim that has no support in the Bible and no place in theology that God is Simple?


(Jo Helen Cox) #19

I do take Paul at his word. He believed in One God before and after his encounter at Damascus. What changed was the belief in Jesus as the Messiah, not the nature of God. I believe Jesus at His word too. He said He and the Father were One and that to look at Him we could see the Father. That vision has nothing to do with the body of Jesus. The Father is Spirit. Jesus exhibited the Spirit of God for all to see. That same Spirit lives inside His followers. We are to live as the image of God. However, our personalities cause duality within us, which gets in the way. We are asked to die to self and put on God. That is being one with God. Jesus did not have internal dualistic contradictions. He was more than one with God. His personality was God’s personality. He and God were one. The duality you insist separates Jesus from Father is only skin deep.

If Paul believe something else, he would have made a strong case for that belief without any hesitation. But where does he argued for three gods or three in one? That would have been necessary for the Jews to change their views. It would been necessary for the gentiles to reject what the Jews taught. So, why believe such a big change that was never predicted by a prophet, never insisted on by Jesus, never thought of by the apostles?

I do not replace biblical teaching with metaphysical simplicity. That kind of simplicity is not simple. My guess, the early theologians inserted the concept of simplicity to counter the complexity that was in Gnosticism. It did not work because Trinitarian theology is endlessly convoluted, not simple. Instead, I believe in the type of simplicity described in Deuteronomy 30:11-14. Living God’s way and understanding God should be at a simple persons level, not at a doctoral level. Abraham did not need seminary classes to explain the nature of God. God was his friend. God was trustworthy. Abraham worshiped a singular God in a world of multiple gods. I believe that is simplicity.

Trinitarianism is not one theology but many contradicting theologies that share the concept of 3 in 1. They contain inconsistent views for the nature of Father and the behavior of God. Is He physically distant or always near? Is he aloof, apathetic, or blissful? Is He calm and logical or does He have violent tendencies because of unresolved anger issues with sin? Is God all these or none of these? Jesus would call that kind of teaching a burden. I look at Jesus and see the Father.


(Roger A. Sawtelle) #20

@Jo_Helen_Cox

Sister, our personalities do not cause us to sin. You can not blame God for creating us in God’s Image for our sin. We are responsible for our sin because we want to do things our way, not God’s way. That is why Jesus was One with God and we can be One with God, When we repent and strop doing things our way and begin to follow Jesus and do things His way we will be one with Jesus, one with the Father, and one with ourselves and the Spirit.

He and God were one. The duality you insist separates Jesus from Father is only skin deep.

As I said before, Jesus was born of a woman and the Father was not. Is this only skin deep? Jesus suffered and died on the Cross, while the Father was not. Is this only skin deep? Jesus was buried in a cold dark tomb, while the Father was not. Is this only skin deep? Jesus stands as our Advocate with the Father. Is that only skin deep?

I have never said Jesus and the Father are not One. That is the whole point of the Trinity, but their unity is not because they are the same entity, because they are not. they are one because they love each other through the Holy Spirit as Jesus says in His great priestly prayer.

Jesus explains Who God is. The Trinity explains Who Jesus is. The trinity is not complicated and you certainly do not need a theology course to understand it. One God in Three as Tertullian wrote a long time ago. Maybe you have been misled do you really don’t understand it.

In any case it does not follow that God must be simple to be good, whjle humans are called to be good, when we are complex. If God is basically simple, God does not need to be wise and have all knowledge because God would not need to make any choices because God is simple.

Jesus knew that God is not Simple. Jesus knew that God gives us the kind of love and discipline that we need. God loves us for who we are, each one of us unique, because that is how God made us.