Theolo-Lunch: Trinitarianism and the Imago Dei

In the past I’ve had wrestling matches with illustrations or analogies that would help understand the Tri-unity. All of the illustrations seemed to have a major flaw and it’s understandable that a finite metaphor breaks down when it comes to God. I’ll need your help in finding out at what point this illustration comes apart from reality.

Some background. I met up with the Geek Friends on Thursday where we got together to be a sounding board for some theological reflection that Curt (The Happy Husband) was having. This ragged band across a wide swash of both the Blogdom and Christendom (MCF the Catholic,TheWriteJerry the Charismatic, Curt the Baptist and myself the Heretic) sat out front of a supermarket trying to come to grips with what Curt was thinking.

You see, Curt’s been teaching a class in his church that looks at creativity as an expression of the image of God (heretofore referred asImago Dei) and while preparing he considered an illustration of the trinity that I plan to share with you (three) readers. The reason I’m posting it is because I’ve been doing some offline thinking about the creation account that may have some resonance with Curt’s concept.

In his halting manner he explained how he writes a post. He has thoughts in his head that are almost immediately tied to words then he puts them down on paper. While considering words and The Word, it struck him that words are a verbal communication. By putting them down, they are expressed in action and thus actually communicated. So a picture of the trinity is found in man, not in the old body-soul-spirit model, but in this thought (the Father), word (the Son), action (the Spirit).

Now, I had to examine the idea a bit. Words, when communicating are actually expressing meaning, or data. They are a series of sounds symbolizing some sort of information. For example the sound ‘tehree’ is an agreed upon sound in the English language that conveys “a perennial woody plant having a main trunk and usually a distinct crown”. The word “tree” then is the expression of a load of data. Depending on context (like “family tree”) the information can be modified to reflect a completely different data string with analogous similarities.

We know that in the beginning was the Logos, Word, and that could mean
an expression of data ({{John 1}}). We know that the Son is the express image of God: the physical manifestation of the infinite God and yet a different Personality in the Godhead ({{Heb 1:1-3}}). Whereas no one has seen the Father at any time, the Son, the Life that was with the Father, has declared Him and was heard and touched by men ({{John 1:18}}; {{1 John 1}}). The Son explained the Father to men…not so much telling us about the Father but in the expressing of who the Father is in the Son’s person.

“You have seen Me, you have seen the Father” ({{John 14:7-9}}) seems at complete variance
with “No one has seen the Father at any time” until you realize that Jesus might be pointing out the difference of the two and yet the infinite Oneness. So we see the Son we see the physical expression of who the Father is. Data/information is expressed.

Now when Man observes data and processes it we would call that Thought. Not the labeling of it (although that would also involve Thought) but the actual mulling over of the data. No one can know what a man has inside his head unless the man himself expresses it…but it’s still referencing something outside of himself. Man exists as part of a system and even when originating Thought it is still related to external data.

But God is infinite and nothing exists outside of Him. That process of Thought wouldn’t be God examining something outside of Himself, but it would be within Himself. In God’s case, Thought and data could conceivably be one and the same so I’ll (cautiously) label this Primary Information.

The Bible would tell us that Christ is the creator of the universe and the one who upholds all things ({{Col 1:16-17}}; {{Heb 1:3}}). Yet, we also know (by faith) that the worlds were formed by the word of God ({{Heb 11:3}})…the conveyance of Information. In the Genesis account we have nothing and suddenly an expression of Primary Information that was only found in the mind of God “Let there be light.” Light as “electromagnetic radiation that has a wavelength in the range from about 4,000 (violet) to about 7,700 (red) angstroms and may be perceived by the normal unaided human eye.” or the complete representation of what “light” is? ({{Gen 1}})

Now, in the New Testament we see that the Spirit of God aids believers. This One is an active participant of the Godhead yet not in the same way that the Son is seen. The Son came into the world, Primary Information expressed to Men but the world isn’t fully understanding of the message until the Spirit is actively sent into the world to convey culpability and righteousness ({{John 16:7-9}}). It would even seem that a person can reject the testimony of the Father and of the Son but upon blaspheming the working of the Spirit there is a particularly heavy consequence ({{Matt 12}}; {{Mark 3}}). So the {Primary information of the Father} as {expressed in the Son} is {conveyed by the Spirit} to the world.

Back to the Genesis account, the Primary Information would be whatever “light” is, the expression of that Primary Information would be “Light” and the conveyance of that expression would be “Let there be light”. This is where Man’s creativity can actually resonate with God being a creative being. The Imago Dei winds up coming into play in the sense of Thought/Information expressed in Word then conveyed.

Now, you see how complicated it’s getting and I think I’m personally making leaps where I should be taking a different steps to draw appropriate conclusions. This all (which strikes me as very philosophical) may be more Jeremy’s expertise  and he may be able to recommend some reading to clear some of this up. I thought that Curt’s initial idea was pretty good until I got my grubby fingers on it, but what do you think? Does this analogy hold water? Are there flaws in it that negatively portray God?


BTW, this has little to do with the post, but you must check out this post by Mike (including the comments) and this series on Jeremy’s blog.  Mind-blowing stuff.

UPDATE: This has been shown to fall into the mistake of actions that all belong to one thing but stand separate from the thing. It is at least tri-theistic but closer to a pantheistic picture. Read the comments here.

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