4/26/2014

The Simplicity and Complexity of God


The simplicity and complexity of the Godhead is that God is a triune God, yet God is one (Dt 6:4; Mk 12:29). Being made in the image of the triune God (Gen 1:26-27), we are happy when we live out our being in God by loving God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength (Dt 6:5; Mt 22:37; Mk 12:30).

Though this might seem confusing or baffling, I think this diagram is helpful:

FATHER
SON
SPIRIT
Mind
Will
Heart
Thinking
Doing
Feeling
Cognition
Volition
Emotion
Plans
Executes
Sustains

So:
  • If we think too much, we might do little to nothing and lose heart.
  • If we are primarily doing things, we could become mindless, emotionless robotic people.
  • If we mainly depend on our feelings, our minds and lives could degenerate or deteriorate.
As fallen, flawed and fallible human beings, we invariably are imbalanced in some ways. We need God's mercy and grace to live out our lives with thoughtful reflection, practical activity and controlled emotions. We need:

Orthodoxy
Orthopraxy
Orthopathy
Right beliefs
Right practices
Right emotions

Systematic theologian, John Frame, is known for what is called triperspectivalism. Frame is indebted to Cornelius Van Til, whose ethical triad of standard, goal, and motive was the seed of thought behind all his triads. Triadic thought (also called perspectivalism and triperspectivalism) arises out of the transcendence and immanence of God expressed in the Creator-creature distinction, in divine revelation and in the covenant context in which the divine Lordship attributes (control, authority and presence) are recognisably present. When man encounters God there are necessarily three perspectives involved in this meeting:
  • the normative or the standard, as God is everywhere Lord;
  • the locus in which the nature of God's authority is made known, or the situational perspective;
  • and the subjectivity of man as the creaturely receptor, or the existential motivational-subjective perspective.
Frame insists that these perspectives are three aspects of one reality: "The key point is that in dealing with these triangles, it is important to note what the whole triangle represents. In the triad normative, situational, existential, the whole triangle represents all of reality. So each corner of it also deals with all of reality, and each is ultimately identical with the others." (Systematic Theology, p. 971). It could be tabled as such:
Standard
Goal
Motive
Control
Authority
Presence
Normative
Situational
Subjective