Video from Dano Johnson Flatland: The Movie - Official Trailer
Do you struggle to comprehend The Trinity: God the Father, God the Son and The Person of the Holy Spirit? I know I do and so does everyone else including the many Church fathers and Theologians etc. over time. It is in reality beyond our cognitive ability to understand. Yet we must try. Why? Because God is our creator, and we worship him, and we are in some ways made in his image. That image is a status not a quality of our physical being.
Video from Dr. Micheal S. Heiser
We wish to get closer to the one who made us. Our sin is part of the reason. We long for companionship with the one who not only created us but incarnated as a human like us (and currently stands as a bodily human at the right hand of God the Father) and died a terrible death to atone for our sins, yes, the sins you commit every day!
In the past some of our world’s greatest thinkers, many of them Christians have sought to understand God and his three selves and to explain this to all of us. I think many have succeeded in a variety of ways yet as a concept of “Being” if still remains well beyond our cognitive abilities. We are finite and he is not.
So, let’s take a look and see what we can come up with this time.
First of all, when asked about seeing God Jesus said: John 14:9 Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you so long, and you still do not know me, Philip? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’?
“In John 14:9, it is written,
Jesus saith unto him, Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? he that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Shew us the Father? KJV, 1769
λέγει αὐτῷ ὁ Ἰησοῦς τοσοῦτον χρόνον μεθ᾽ ὑμῶν εἰμι καὶ οὐκ ἔγνωκάς με Φίλιππε ὁ ἑωρακὼς ἐμὲ ἑώρακεν τὸν πατέρα καὶ πῶς σὺ λέγεις Δεῖξον ἡμῖν τὸν πατέρα TR, 1550
The phrase “he who has seen me has seen the Father,” taken literally, seems to suggest that the Father looks exactly like the Lord Jesus Christ, physically (since, to be seen, something must be physical and tangible). Ergo, the Father must be corporal, having flesh and bones, and the Father must be Jewish, too. Yet, elsewhere, it is written that “God is spirit,”1 and “a spirit does not have flesh and bones.”2 Hence, there appears to be a contradiction.
That being said, if it is not to be understood literally, what then is the meaning of the phrase “he who has seen me has seen the Father”?
The phrase "he who has seen me has seen the Father" refers to the works of the Father being seen in the words and deeds of Jesus Christ, who is God in flesh (cf: John 1:1,14; Colossians 2:9, 1 Timothy 3:16).
So, we are pointed to Christ revealing the words/deeds of God the Father in Himself the God-Man. We are literally not seeing GOD as perhaps Moses saw God. There are very few instances in the Bible of Humans staying alive as they looked upon the unfiltered essence of GOD/Yahweh/Elohim. For more detailed studies of this see: The Angel of the Lord (link).
I wish to go from that to our existence as corporeal beings. We have a body; God does not except in Christ nor do the Angelic Beings ( but they can manifest in human form).
In everyday life, we inhabit a space of three dimensions – a vast ‘cupboard’ with height, width and depth, well known for centuries. Less obviously, we can consider time as an additional, fourth dimension, as Einstein famously revealed. But just as we are becoming more used to the idea of four dimensions, some theorists have made predictions wilder than even Einstein had imagined.
String theory intriguingly suggests that six more dimensions exist but are somehow hidden from our senses. They could be all around us but curled up to be so tiny that we have never realized their existence.” From the Article: String theory and extra dimensions
The Spiritual World can be thought of as a dimension yet as we only have the vaguest understanding that is no doubt inadequate. But if we realize that the Invisible Realm and the Visible Realm overlap as in Flatland, we can have a more realistic concept of the world in which we exist.
We live in Flatland.
“This masterpiece of science (and mathematical) fiction is a delightfully unique and highly entertaining satire that has charmed readers for more than 100 years. The work of English clergyman, educator and Shakespearean scholar Edwin A. Abbott (1838-1926), it describes the journeys of A. Square [sic – ed.], a mathematician and resident of the two-dimensional Flatland, where women-thin, straight lines-are the lowliest of shapes, and where men may have any number of sides, depending on their social status.
Through strange occurrences that bring him into contact with a host of geometric forms, Square has adventures in Space land (three dimensions), Line land (one dimension) and Point land (no dimensions) and ultimately entertains thoughts of visiting a land of four dimensions—a revolutionary idea for which he is returned to his two-dimensional world. Charmingly illustrated by the author, Flatland is not only fascinating reading, it is still a first-rate fictional introduction to the concept of the multiple dimensions of space. "Instructive, entertaining, and stimulating to the imagination." — Mathematics Teacher.” From Goodreads: Flatland: A Romance of Many Dimensions
And just like the residents of Flatland we are oblivious to the existence of other spaces and places. We often deny this or ignore this as part of our rebellious nature. Those people who have rebelled completely often take up the cause of Scientism and of course Atheism.
Yet people who claim the label of Atheist comes to their conclusion by different paths: Read this article: Why Do Atheists Refuse to Believe in God?
But I digress, We live in Flatland!
Occasionally something happens that provides us with a glimpse of the Invisible Realm. And being the skeptics, we are we look for alternate explanations which can be justified by Science. But you see God is not obligated to explain or reveal himself as a form or being before us. He has already done that in Christ and in his creation in which we are immersed, reveals him if we would just LOOK!
We live in Flatland! We are Flatlanders!
Now where I live that title has a hugely different meaning, people from downstate who actually live-in areas of flat landscape.
In the story Flatland a three dimensional being appears and tries to explain himself to a Two dimensional being. At first the Flatlander sees a circle that increases in volume and then slowly shrinks until it disappears again. The sphere explains that it is a being coming from a different dimension and tries to explain this dimension to the Flatlander. The Flatlander cannot understand because he lacks the categories to grasp the mystery or concept. Eventually the sphere takes the Flatlander into Space land, giving him an experience of three-dimensional reality.
Consider this, when you and I pray our thoughts and voice instantly travel and is heard by the Trinity. Christ Jesus a person, a physical body can perceive of our thoughts etc., through our Human Spirit that becomes active upon our belief in Christ (regeneration) hears us and advocates on our behalf to God the Father. Since our body is now the Temple as Christians The Person of the Holy Spirit is active in our mind and souls. But for him and Christ to be effective in us we must daily confess our sins (1 John 1:9) as Christ will not enter a sinful and unrepentant soul.
Video from Closer to Truth
The invisible realm overlaps into where we are in this world. God hears us, God sees us, not just our bodies but our inner selves, our souls, our thoughts, emotions feelings etc. we cannot run, we cannot hide. When we sin no matter where it is, even in our minds God knows. As Christians that repent on a regular basis, we should be fearful of God, his wreath, his judgement.
He will and does discipline us, he loves us we are his children.
So, for now I want you to reflect upon your existence in Flatland and how the invisible realm of God intersects your daily life. Pray and acknowledge to God your shortsightedness and unbelief. Repent and then go out into your day more aware of how your Lord is active in your life and the world around you.
Next in Part 2 we will look closer at the trinity within The Doctrine of Inseparable Operations.