Thoughts on God compared to my mind or maybe my brain

A big part of the RELAY Programme is a self-study module on theology – what Christian’s believe about God and everything, based on what the Bible says. A big part of The Doctrine of God – what we believe about God – is the belief in the Trinity. Now, if you like moulding your brain into different shapes by giving it hard things to think about then you might like this. If you don’t like doing that, then maybe you should – you might discover something worth discovering or see things from a different angle or even decide that you are someone who likes moulding your brain into different shapes by giving it hard things to think about!

Anyway, back to the “this” of about 3 lines up! I was thinking about the Trinity and well, trying to get my head around it. (Sorry.) Firstly, here is a typical statement of the Doctrine of the Trinity:

God eternally exists as three persons, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, and each person is fully God, and there is one God. Ref 1

So, Christians are saying that, somehow, God is a single entity but it is a plurality of persons. I know – the instinct is to reject it because it doesn’t make sense. But then if God is God, then it would be a bit disappointing if we weren’t at a bit of a loss as to understand entirely who He is. Here are a few thoughts that struck me on the Trinity, when I was thinking about it a while back.

When my mind wanders, it creates its own soap opera or re-runs scenes from previous experiences: a film from last night, a conversation which never happened with that pretty girl, a whole scene as Batman, ahem, whatever, you get the gist. Wherever those thoughts, that stream of babbling consciousness, comes from – that’s another discussion – some observations can be made on the mind itself. The first observation has been mentioned – part of the mind is “running” or “showing” this exclusive soap. Secondly, another part, perhaps our mind’s eye, is watching the show. Maybe a third part is making next week’s show. The point is that I have one mind, yet within it, there are different parts with different roles, which relate to each other and which interplay. There is unity – one mind – and diversity – different parts with different roles.

Perhaps, this is a good analogy for the Trinity. The Father is the Head; He plans and speaks; the Son, the “Word”, creates and the Father observes. The Holy Spirit is there making it all happen, providing the power that runs the show. This is not a perfect analogy, for there is none and anyway, we are trying to describe the largely indescribable, here. Each part of the mind is different from the other parts – it is not one of the other parts. And each of the parts is not fully the whole mind. However, these descriptions of the mind relate more easily and understandably to the brain. We can understand that one part of the brain deals with sight, another with balance, etc., etc. The existence of the mind as something existing within or by the existence and workings of the brain, means that it is harder to separate the mind into parts than the brain. Hence, this blurring of lines, blurring of our understanding of the mind, gives it a higher merit as an analogy for the Trinity than I second thought.

In delving into the un-understood, we open up possibilities for understanding God and understanding that we cannot fully understand God. And it is no small-minded thing to acknowledge that He is beyond our comprehension.

Yet, there are things that we can understand about Him, and we can know Him. The Bible tells us about Him: He is loving (in fact He “is love”); He is just; He is powerful; He is omni-[all things good and worthwhile]. The created universe also tells us things about Him – if God made everything, then He’s more than a little creative.

So, we must seek God but not expect to find all of Him. But here is another “but”: because of the fact that Jesus, who was a man, was also God, we can expect to find some of Him, to get to know Him, we can relate to Him as a person.

Now, how Jesus could be a man and be God – that is a whole other days mind-wandering.

Wandering with an aim,

JcJ.


Ref 1: Grudem, W., Systematic Theology: An Introduction to Biblical Doctrine, pp226, IVP, Nottingham, 2007.

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