Three Gods or One God?

Swedenborg spent a lot of his effort on correcting the concept of Trinitarian doctrine that has been held by the Christian Church since the Nicene Council. There is indeed a Divine Trinity, but the idea of a Trinity of Persons was unknown to the Apostolic Church.

From the Nicene council and the Athanasian Creed, the idea of a trinity of persons, each of whom is separately God, has, according to Swedenborg, perverted the entire Christian Church. This idea of the Holy Trinity is incongruous and defies human reason. It creates a belief and faith that God is one, but is still not one person.

Under this schizophrenic form of worship one is forced to believe deep in one’s heart that there are three Divine Persons, but give lip service to the idea of one God. This is fuzzy math.

If you give distinct properties and attributes to three divine persons, you carve up the Divine Essence so that no one of the three can represent God in fullness. This throws the concept of Divine omnipotence right out the theological window.

This is why the Trinitarian doctrine is declared a “mystery” by the church and we should not worry our finite minds over such things.

The picture we form (should we refuse to shut our minds) is that God the Father, who sits overhead, was moved by watching His Son suffer on the cross and pleading for all men and women. This arousal of the Father’s compassion and love for His Son next sets the Holy Spirit into high gear, who then descends toward earth to dispense gifts of justification by which humans are instantly transformed from the condemned to the elect (in spite of themselves).

This picture turns serious thinking people into atheists.

According to Swedenborg, the angels of heaven understood that Jesus was Jehovah, who came into the world to make himself both visible and accessible to the human race. The Holy Spirit represents the acceptance and reception of God’s divine operation into the minds and hearts of men and women on earth.

Swedenborg points out that one God cannot go out and proceed from another (as Christian dogma maintains). But a divine operation can certainly go out and proceed from God. So God can display all three operations and divine attributes without having to be described through the distinct activities of three separate persons.

If the clarification of Trinitarian doctrine described by the Nicene Council was such an improvement over the understanding of doctrine in the Apostolic Church, then why did Europe soon after plunge into the Dark Ages? Surely, such an important doctrinal improvement would not have led to an era of religious conflict and denigration.

Please chime in.

(Swedenborg goes into much more detail concerning the holy trinity. If you’re interested in learning more, contact the Swedenborg Foundation and ask for his great theological work, titled True Christianity.)

Website: http://www.staircasepress.com

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About thegodguy

EDWARD F. SYLVIA, M.T.S. Philosopher/Theologian Edward F. Sylvia attended the School of Visual Arts in New York and received his Master of Theological Studies at the Pacific School of Religion in Berkeley, CA and a Certificate of Swedenborgian Studies from the Swedenborgian House of Studies. He is a member of the Center for Theology and the Natural Sciences (C.T.N.S.) and the Swedenborg Scientific Association (S.S.A.). Award-winning author of "Sermon From the Compost Pile: Seven Steps Toward Creating An Inner Garden" and "Proving God," which fulfills a continuing vision that God’s fingerprints of love can be found everywhere in the manifest universe. His most recent book, "Swedenborg & Gurdjieff: The Missing Links" is an edgy collection of anti-intuitive essays for personal transformation that challenges and inspires. He has been a student of the ideas of both Emanuel Swedenborg and George I. Gurdjieff for over thirty years. Read more about TheGodGuy, his books and his ideas at http://www.staircasepress.com
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113 Responses to Three Gods or One God?

  1. tasithoughts says:

    I have always found the traditional concept of the Christian Trinity difficult to believe.

  2. irishanglican says:

    thegodguy – I read your post, Three Gods or One God? Have “you” read the Ecumentical Council of Nicaea itself? Before we proceed we need to have some presuppositions. Yes? I am not, nor does the Creed teach Tritheism!

    And the Eastern Orthodox have never been in darkness, only the fallen world around them. This is basic Christian theology, that the world around us is fallen, and broken spiritually. (1 John 2:15-16-17)

    Fr. Robert

  3. thegodguy says:

    Thank you for responding to this post. I did read the official stand by the Nicene council in Seminary school concerning the Divine Trinity. In fact, I wrote a paper on the history of Trinitarian doctrine and all the mind-numbing ways that theologians have tried to make three into one and one into three.

    Rather than explain what I have read or not read, I have made my position clear concerning how I understand the concept of the Divine Trinity in the above post – there is one God with three attributes and operations. We are made in God’s image and likeness because humans share these three attributes in finite ways as love (the will), discernment (the understanding) and action (the doing). God’s three attributes are Divine Love (the Father) Divine Truth or Love made visible (the Son) and the Divine Proceeding (the Holy Spirit).

    You say that you do not promote Tritheism. I am relieved. However, you have not spelled out for me your specific understanding about Trinitarian doctrine.

    Do you believe Jesus is Jehovah? I do.

    My main presupposition is that the Holy Word contains three levels of meaning within its narratives – a natural sense (literal), a spiritual sense, and a heavenly sense. The disclosure of these higher meanings of the Word to men and women is actually represented in the Lord’s Second Coming as appearing in the clouds (clouds represent doctrinal obscurity). So I have just now given you a sample of the higher meaning contained in Revelation.

    The Second Coming is a new dispensation from the Lord. This will correct the damage done by the Nicene council and bring about a new church on earth – the New Jerusalem.

  4. irishanglican says:

    Not sure why my post flipped up top there? And yes, it would be obvious that if believe in the Trinity of God. That the incarnate Christ is Jehovah-Jesus!

    Fr. Robert

  5. thegodguy says:

    Dear Fr. Robert

    If you are wondering why a response from another reader suddenly popped up in front of yours it is simply an idiosyncrasy of the system I am using. Since I approved your very first response to my blog all your other responses are immediately published – even before I have a chance to look them over. The person whose comment suddenly appeared before yours was a first-time responder. It was entered before your last installment. So when I approved it, the system immediately placed it first, since it was written first.

    I am glad that you see Jesus and Jehovah as one. However, this doesn’t square with the fact that you still cling to the phrase “three Persons.” All the high-sounding words you use to reconcile this “mystery” are artificial and cannot be found anywhere in Scripture.

    By the way, I was not happy that you put your last post on my biography page (and said so). I created this “Three Gods or One God?” page especially for our Trinitarian discussion. While I respect everyone who defends their franchise, please don’t punch below the belt and go after me on my biography page.

    Still, you are valued for your opinion and your obvious academic prowess (How’s that for turning the other cheek?)

  6. irishanglican says:

    Sir,

    Forgive me, I went to your bio to get your name, but I really did forget to turn back to the other blog when I wrote that. Very true, so I was not hitting below the belt I purpose.

    The fact that you are are making absolute statements about the “three persons”, but don’t use any of the language of the Ecumenical Council itself is very weak, and also poor dialog to say the least. How can we dialog with such? We simply cannot! My point to some presuppositions or some kind of agreement as we dialog. It is too obvious that we are in complete opposition! We can at least not try to pontificate at each other, and if anyone had the ground and historic position, to do so, it would certainly be mine here. Your position is based upon one man, and he is most certainly again, not held by any in the mainstream. Most all historic Christians, Protestant, Evangelical, Lutheran, Anglican, R. Catholic and Eastern Orthodox are Trinitarian! Thus the “Ecumenical” Councils! And am again very sorry to tell you that your position is certain heterodix, as I have defined.

    And “high sounding words”, well this can be the nature of theology. Again, you are showing your own ingorance, and making judgement before we can get into the subject. Though it would be yours to show why we should just forget hundreds of years of solid Trinitarian theology, and the historic traditions of the East and West! No the burden is yours!

    Finally, I am not sure this would be of benefit really. As I can see that it will be Eastern (also some Western) theology against your Swendenborg ideas. And theology for the Orthodox Church is something very holy and not taken lightly. And I do belong to a society of Anglican-Orthodox people. So if this is not going to be a dialog, at both ends? (At least to hear each other out?)This is a waste of time for both of us.

    Sincerely In Christ,
    Fr. Robert

  7. irishanglican says:

    thegodguy… So is this the right blog page?

    Fr. Robert

  8. thegodguy says:

    Dear Fr. Robert,

    Yes, you are on the right blog page (even though we are obviously not on the same page). This blog is about new ideas – not only in theology but science as well. I belong to a growing movement of scientists and theologians who believe that “God and science our one.” This requires new thinking. Orthodox Religion has no response to the New Physics. That is why I embrace Swedenborg’s theological writings – they provide me with a more adequate theology to both interface with science and bring the “mysteries of faith” within human rational understanding (a trinitarian doctrine based on “three persons” does the opposite).

    The Lord has promised to make all things “anew.” This includes an overhaul of Orthodox theology. I have studied traditional Christianity more than you have studied Swedenborg. So I approach the subject with a degree of objectivity that you cannot claim.

    I do not disrespect high-sounding words because they are high-sounding – they represent made-made concepts that are not supported by Scripture. So I am challenging a long tradition of man-made concepts. The Lord said to his disciples that He had more to tell them but that they “could not bear these things now.” This ADDITIONAL information plays a part in the Lord’s Second Coming, which is taking place at this very moment.

    I not only can bear this new information I intend to make good use of it. My current book project, “Proving God,” does just that.

    Earthquakes in Revelation represent God’s shaking things up within our spirit. The Second Coming is not a physical event. It is a paradigm shift that takes place within the hearts and minds of men and women. How else can real change take place?

  9. irishanglican says:

    Dear Mr. Sylvia,

    First, let me tell you that my dear departed father was a physicist. I am Irish born, but we went to Ramsgate, England when I was a young teen. So I grew up with scientists all in and around my life. I think my desire to learn and seek to exhaust a subject came from my father. And also we both had a military side, he was a RAF squadron leader in WW2. And I was a Royal Marine officer…Gulf War 1, etc. Just a little bio info on me. And I am into my 50’s now. Also that little pic of me was this last year…still 150lbs at 5’11. A Royal Marine thing, and Irish pride! lol (My little brother was an American Marine also. And he still lives in S. Cal. , USA) And we are conservative, something perhaps rather different for the UK.

    I have a great respect for mysticsm. I happen to believe and feel that both Pauline and Johannine theology and truth is very mystical. But it must be brought within the scope of the discipline and beauty of dogmatic theology. For truth is really foreign to all overstatments as well as to all understatements. It gives to everything a fitting measure and fitting place. And concerning the Orthodox Church, here we have an elegent tapestry of enduring theology, culture and tradition. And by the way which is experiencing a worldwide rebirth. As an Anglican I seek to balance the best of both western and eastern theology. But, when it comes to the Trinity, the East and Orthodoxy have it “Orthodox” – both “right teaching” and “right worship”! And, the term “Orthrodox” came to be applied to the Church as false teaching and division multiplied in early Christian times threatening the identity and purity of the Faith. The Orthodox Church carefully guards the truth against all lies and error in order to protect its flock and to Taste and see. It is the only Apostolic Church rooted in Holy Scripture and twenty centuries of Holy Tradition. As Fr. Serguis Bulgakov said, “Orthodoxy does not persuade or try to compel; it charms and it attracts.” I would only say too as something of a western educated Christian, its “persuasion” is also both mystical and theological. There simply is nothing quite like the depth and spiritual nature of Orthodoxy! It is both incarnational and the fullness of the Judeo God, as our Lord said, “Salvation is of the Jews” (St. John 4:22) Therefore the true biblical faith is simply always Judeo-Christian!

    So as you can see, in some ways, I have tight parameters..but within the scope of God’s vast spiritual, mystical and theological truth: “And the light shines in the darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.” (St. John 1:5) Will you comprehend God’s light? But even here, we must have GOD’s grace and light to see!

    ‘Beloved Father in Christ Serguis Bulgakov, pray to Christ our God that in His grace we are granted the vision of the Mystery of the Tri-Hypostatic Hypostasis of the Trinity and of the world in God and God in the world.’ – Amen

    Fr. Robert

  10. irishanglican says:

    thegodguy – Have you read the classic work by JND Kelly: Early Christian Doctrines? This is not just academia? In a dialog with me, I will hold your feet to the fire of our standard history and both good men and their written works. If you do not? Then I would not consider your theological merit. This is one of “my” presuppositions! And by the way, when I was younger I met JND Kelly, Principal of St. Edmund Hall, Oxford, Endland. He is now with the Lord. A very able and good man! (RIP)

    Fr. Robert

  11. irishanglican says:

    *England..I am a poor typer (lol) Bear with me..

  12. thegodguy says:

    Dear Fr. Robert,

    Your bad spelling is forgiven (lol).

    This blog is a discussion about ideas and concepts – not about credentials. I acknowledge your credentials, why do you challenge mine? I accept that your academic background qualifies you to be more of a theological geek than I am. Furthermore, why are you intent on making the rules? You are a guest on my blog.

    Where we differ is that you believe that the Nicene Council was a SACRED and HOLY event rather than a human endeavor to create theology by committee. Unless my memory deceives me (from Seminary) the Nicene Council was not without political intrigue (as are all human endeavors).

    Let’s please keep this discussion based on the merit of the theological concepts – not on academic credentials. It was not for nothing that the Lord picked common people to be His disciples rather than academics.

    You deeply care about God and the human predicament. I consider you a spiritual brother,

  13. irishanglican says:

    Mr. Sylvia,
    I am sorry, but my point was the classic book by JND Kelly. You said you had read and understood this subject more than I have? And when I spoke of your thelogical merit, I was speaking of your argument, etc. (And not so much your education) How can one state this without having read this old classic? Again that was my point. And forgive indeed my poor type and spelling! lol Not too many know, but this old Irishman is somewhat dyslexic (now the whole blog world knows..lol If any care to read this even? lol)

    Indeed, the political element was real, as it always is with human beings. And with that let me recommend a friends book: Saint Cyril of Alexandria and the Christological Controversy, by Fr. John A. McGuckin. Again, it is a standard work on this subject. You see I do not believe we can think, do, or write theology without sound history! And I am not convinced that Swedenborg stands up here? That is part of your work and argument toward me. My thoughts at least.

    Please know I am not calling you personally into question. But, as to theology and academics, it must be historical, before we can even think about going either philosophical, or theological. In the Orthodox Church they do not give the title theologian away easily. Not even to this Irishman! lol But then I am not technically an Orthodox Christian, not to them. (Even though I am in a society that is close to them…Anglican-Orthodox for dialogue) I labor this some, because I have found that many if not most western Christians really don’t know or understand the Orthodox. I have been around, and in study of them for years, and I am still learning!

    As to the Ecumenical Council of Nicaea I, yes to me, as the Orthodox it is Holy Ground! And I am jeaous here for the truth of God! If I can use the word “jealous” in I hope a good way.

    Fr. Robert

  14. irishanglican says:

    *theological

  15. thegodguy says:

    Dear spelling champ,

    I did not say that I understood this subject more than you. I stated that I had studied traditional Christianity (and its history) more than you have studied Swedenborg. If you are unfamiliar with his theological works how can we engage in an objective discourse? Swedenborg’s great theological work entitled “True Christianity” addresses the traditional positions and views on the Divine Trinity (and other issues of Christian dogma) then offers new ways to think about this important topic.

    I was not born Swedenborgian. I grew up in a Catholic family. As a mature adult I picked Swedenborgianism based on comparing his ideas with the standard dogmas. Swedenborg came out on top.

    Yes! We are both still learning!

    Swedenborg wrote close to thirty books on theology. I find the information they contain inexhaustible.

    You say I cannot engage you without reading certain books. And you cannot engage me without having read Swedenborg. At this juncture we indeed talk from different languages. My faith is based on God’s Holy Word having narratives on different levels (how else would God squeeze Infinite Wisdom into a finite document?). These higher levels of meaning can not be fabricated from a finite human mind because it requires unimaginable consistency throughout. If a particular word in Scripture (like water) has a higher spiritual meaning in one story then this higher meaning has to work everywhere the word appears in the literal text.

    Swedenborg maintains that the authority, sacredness, and inerrancy of the Holy Word comes from its spiritual levels of meaning. Therefore, its inerrancy is not to be proved by archealogical confirmations (or personal belief), but by raising one’s cognitive ability so that The Lord can reveal these deeper teachings to men and women.

    I will bet that the books you suggest do not even address or acknowledge such a possibility.

    Bye for now. I have a book to write. So I may not be able to address your next response in a timely way.

  16. irishanglican says:

    I will leave you then, you and I have both very different presuppositions, and most certainly different paths! I did read something about Swedenborg when I was a Roman Catholic Benedictine way back in my early 20’s. I saw that as a false road, as I see “your” levels of scripture. The monastic Bible study is literal or historical, doctrinal, and moral. This follows the Fathers of both east and west. Only within this sound apostolic discipline can we see any “mystical” truth and reality!

    The Rev’d Fr. Dr. Robert Kelly Darby
    D. Phil., Th.D.

    PS Spelling champ! lol

  17. irishanglican says:

    “The dogma of the Holy Trinity consists in two basic postulates. The first affirms the triune character of the Diety, Trinity in Unity and Unity in Trinity. The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, who are three distinct Divine Persons together constitute One God. The second postulate is concerned with the consubstantiality of the Holy Trinity, which has but one Substance or nature.” (Fr. Serguis Bulgakov)

    Fr. Robert

  18. irishanglican says:

    Also before I leave this scene, I wanted to give this quote about the great nature of the love of God:

    ‘Love is a grave and ruthless passion, unlimited in selfgiving and unlimited in demand.’ (Evelyn Underhill)

    God’s love is both donation and demand!

    Fr. Robert

  19. thegodguy says:

    Dear Fr. Robert,

    Okay, Okay, Okay – you win! I must play by YOUR RULES and approach this subject from a strictly historical perspective (and not use my noggin). Shame on me for my lack of academic professionalism.

    Even worse, I have withheld relevant information.

    Did you know that the Apostle Paul, Origen, and Augustine provided support for Swedenborg’s position that Scripture contained hidden content? Where these “Fathers” guilty of walking away from sound apostolic discipline?

    You have inspired me to write a new post!

    Spiritually yours,
    the GodGuy

  20. irishanglican says:

    theGodGuy

    First, let me tell you that I value very highly real mystical thought. But I do believe that we must still use the historical method, first, when we approach scripture. We can make spiritual applications, but we can never violate the texual structure itself. And both even Origen and Ausgustine used all the tools they had at their time. But both, were hardly always right! We know this in history with Origen. But even Ausgustine made serious errors to my mind. The Orthodox have been very sound in their treatment of Augustine, they can see that he made mistakes on some subjects. But, in the west, many see him almost infallible! This has caused real error, in some subjects like predestination, which was the basis of Calvin’s doctrine.

    So we can go into mystical theology, but we can never play fast and loose with the scripture text! In fact scripture and logic, the latter to some degree must be our guard in things mystical!

    The Orthodox Church has had (has present) many profound monastics and mystical people. But both the temper of Apostolic Scripture and the light of a living tradition, keep this in good check!

    But please feel free to share your “relevant information” and Swedenborg thoughts. But just know my presuppositions and judgement will be both historical and then theological. Remember, I am an Anglican, so I hold to both east and west. Just some western ideas. Western theology is often more intellectual and emotional in character. And as a rule western theology is based on rational thought whereas Orthodoxy is hesychastic. This is not a complete rule, but the west most often falls here. Not that there are not intellectual Orthodox, but the balance is toward the heart and faith, rather than just the scholastic mind. I hope you can see my method? We Anglicans call it the via media (middle way). But certainly no one has it nailed, not even my Orthodox friends! But, I will go along ways with them! As to the foundation of the Ecumenical Councils, etc. I am very close to their spirituality and disciplines! But the Church east & west is a pilgrim church, and like Christ the Lord (when He was here) it is always in some “kenotic” place. It is from here that the Church has its real spiritual power in a fallen and broken world.

    Yours for our Lord’s metanoia – “transformation of mind”,

    Fr. Robert

  21. thegodguy says:

    Dear Fr. Robert,

    According to Swedenborg Calvin did not fair well in the other world. So at least we agree on something.

    All those who defend the literal sense and interpretation of Scripture charge that to do otherwise is to violate the textural structure itself. What is it about “Inner Content” that violates the text and body of Scripture? That is like saying that an x-ray picture of a person’s vital organs violates one’s physical characteristics. Nonsense!

    Are you suggesting that an Infinitely Wise and Infinitely Creative God is only capable of creating a “flat” document that consists of nothing more than conveying a correct account of historical events? I find that theologically lame.

    Swedenborg was a scientist before becoming a theologian and always approached his topics from logic. He was not playing fast and loose with his higher interpretations of Scripture. These elevated interpretations follow strict rules called the SCIENCE OF CORRESPONDENCES. This puts extreme restrictions (and good checks) on what higher interpretations can convey.

    In other words, you can’t arbitrarily assign rarefied meanings to ordinary language and words. Higher meanings must faithfully CORRESPOND to the terrestrial meaning of the words. This means that a higher interpretation of a biblical story must give us a “parallel” interpretation. This is just not possible unless those meanings are really there.

    Swedenborg wrote a 12-volume work entitled the “Arcana Coelestia” (Secrets of Heaven) which provides consistent evidence that Scripture contains elevated narratives. He created a profound systematic theology from these inner revelations. These higher meanings are the only way to resolve the seemingly illogical aspects of some of its stories (like Cain being the firstborn of Adam yet builds a city).

    Sorry. Your approach to Scripture simply does not contain the richness of God’s revealed truth that I have become accustomed to.

  22. irishanglican says:

    theGodGuy,

    The idea that Swedenborg sees and knows things about heaven and people directly is quite opposed to scripture! The whole element of “soothsayers” (sorcerers, wizards, necromancer) and witchcraft; someone or people who could predict or see into the heavenly things, was simply not allowed for the Hebrews. (Lev.19:31;20:6/2 Kings 9:22; 21:6 / 2 Ch.33:6 / Isa.8:19; 19:3/ 1 Sam.15:23 Na.3:4 / Mic.5:12) It was and still is a pagan thing in the NT (Gal.5:20). There are certain things like this that just cannot be made Juedo or Christian. It is here that your whole system and most surely the man Swedenborg comes under biblical judgment!

    As to Calvin the man, he was profound and godly! No one can find things about his life as to personal sin or drunkeness (like poor Luther). His error, if we can really call it that? Was theological. His love and desire for God, again simply profound! That Calvin feared God is again biblical (Prov. 1:7). His error was perhaps the doctrine of a double predestination.

    So as you can see my friend, very sadly, we really have almost nothing to agree on!

    When you do not have, or loose the doctrine of doctrine of God-Judeo, and then the Christian doctrine of God triune and incarnational, you simply cannot have the biblical and revelational doctrine of God! (1 John 4:1-2 / 2 John 9)

    Fr. Robert

  23. irishanglican says:

    *too many”doctrine” words! lol

  24. irishanglican says:

    *The doctrine of God-Judeo, and

  25. irishanglican says:

    PS I have and do value Jewish theologians, Martin Buber is perhaps my favorite. His I/Thou relationship, first with God (on God’s terms) and then our human relationships, etc. And I do have an interest in the Hasidic Jewish theology, and their mystic ways. Did I mention to you that I taught philosophy and theology in Jerusalem for several years? Yes, I love the Jewish people and the nation of Israel! And they are still under God’s covenant love! (Rom. 11:24-29) Karl Barth is a good read here.

  26. irishanglican says:

    “I have occasionally described my standpoint to my friends as the ‘narrow ridge.’ I wanted by this to express that I did not rest on the broad upland of a system that includes a series of sure statements about the absolute, but on a narrow rocky ridge between the gulfs where there is no sureness of expressible knowledge but the certainty of meeting that remains undiclosed.” Buber

    For me Buber’s expression “the narrow ridge”, stands upon the certainly of the nature of God, but still the “meeting” is always one of the desire for more of God’s touch and love! For the Christian this is always “the upward calling of God in Christ Jesus!” (Phil.3:14)

    Fr. Robert

  27. irishanglican says:

    *certainty (ya can always have almost certainty..that I will miss-spell words! lol) The old dyslexic Irishman…your spelling champ!

  28. thegodguy says:

    I am glad that this discussion isn’t killing any trees. Jokes aside, I am somewhat disappointed that you have not made any identifiable response to Swedenborg’s Science of Correspondences (which challenges your thesis that he was playing fast and loose with biblical interpretation).

    By the way, the Prophets and St. John all experienced “visions” of the future – were they sorcerers?

    In spite of our doctrinal disagreement, my readers and I appreciate that you are sharing your theological understanding with us.

  29. irishanglican says:

    thegodguy

    First, I am not really a hard blogger. I use it mostly to make contact with people, etc. And thank you to have something more positive in our dialogue. It is hard when we are so very different in our dogma and presuppositions.

    In Patristic tradition, theologians are the God-seers. But this is always from following the “method” of the Church, and have attained their vision spiritually. It is the illumination of the nous and to divinisation (theosis). Theology is the fruit of man’s cure and the path which leads to cure and the acquisition of the knowledge of God. The Eastern Fathers teach that natural and metaphysical categories do not exist but speak rather of the created and uncreated. The eternal essence of God which is totally transcendent and His uncreated energies. The God who is transcendent and the God who touches us are one and the same. But we can only touch and share God’s uncreated energies! To seek the essence of God is simply impossible, and even foolish. Thus here I will not engage! In the past I have with my western mind and scholastic education sought this, but now I try to think differently. And go by the way of the mind / nous, and the “spirit and truth” in God’s nepsis and metanoia – “transformation of the mind”. But this comes only by God’s grace and faith, through His self-emptying. This path is never easy! And life in this fallen world never is.

    Sincerely In Christ,
    Fr. Robert

  30. irishanglican says:

    PS To answer your question on the OT Prophets and the St. John and St. Paul (and their delegates). They were the men chosen by God to see and then write down (alone) what we do have as Scripture! And only the Apostolic Church can give both scripture understanding and a living tradition in and from God. This is His “method” now!

  31. thegodguy says:

    The Apostolic Fathers (first and second century A.D.) had no notion of “three Persons.” No amount of mental gymnastics or fabricated theological words will make me believe that you can embrace “three Persons” and call your faith monotheistic.

    However, you could go a long way in helping me if when you speak of God you specify which of the three Persons you have in mind. For instance, when you mentioned above the phrase “God’s touch and love” which God were you referring to?

    So, if you insist on a triune God consisting of THREE PERSONS, I must insist that you clarify which one you are talking about every time you say “God.” This will allow me to form the correct image in my mind about who you are talking about.

    And, to whom do I address my prayers to before going to bed?

    I would not want to be thrown into hell on a technicality for praying to the wrong Person.

  32. irishanglican says:

    thegodguy

    Again, if you would have read the classic work by JND Kelly: Early Christian Doctrines, you would know that your statement as to the Apostolic Fathers is simply incorrect! And it seems that you are already unteachable, (with your second statement) as to the true nature of both God and His historic Church. What else can be said?

    As to who we pray to? Again, now you are showing your biblical ignorance. For as our Lord taught us very plainly, we are to pray to our God and Father. In the ‘Our Father’, or Lord’s Prayer. (Matt. 6:9–13 / Luke 11:2–4). And anybody that misses the triune nature to God, from St. John chapters 14-16…not to mention our Lord’s High Priestly Prayer in John 17, is not paying attention, or is just rejecting the obvious. I fear the latter with you!

    Finally, if we look at the NT Epistles, from St. Paul, St. Peter, St. John to the last by Jude. (Hebrews being the only exception)…as more of an “exhortation”. But even there the letter ends too, in prayer to “the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus…etc. [And] “through Jesus Christ” (Heb.13:20-21). The point is all prayer is to the FATHER, through the Son Jesus Christ, the Lord! This is the nature and way of the NT Epistles and Letters. Sometimes the Son is addressed (Heb.1:8 / 2 Peter 1:1). Or the two are together under one Greek clause: “But to us there is but one God the Father, of whom are all things, and we in him, and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we by him.” (1 Cor.8:6) And note, “the Spirit” is with and in us, the Church! “For through him (Christ) we both (Jew & Gentile) have access by one Spirit unto the Father.” (Eph.2:18) And He takes our prayers to the Father, in the “Jesus Name”! The “One Mediator between God and men (note too not MAN, but men), the man Christ Jesus.” (1 Tim.2:5) And again note the inversion of his name – “Christ Jesus” the glorified God-Man!

    Finally in reality the whole NT is full of the Trinity of God! From the Transfiguration to Christ’s baptism, to the NT Letters! The truine nature of God is ever real and apparent! (2 Cor.13:14 / 1 Pet. 1:2, etc.)

    In our Triune God: Father, Son, Holy Spirit!
    Fr. Robert

  33. thegodguy says:

    Paying attention has nothing to do with our disagreement. I read the same biblical passages that you do.

    All the evidence you provide above is based on the literal (corporeal/sensual) understanding of the verses. I have studied Swedenborg’s theology for almost 35 years and support his view that THE SENSE OF THE LETTER OF THE WORD IS THE BASIS, THE CONTAINANT, AND SUPPORT OF ITS HIGHER SPIRITUAL AND HEAVENLY SENSES.

    Paul seems to offer support for Swedenborg when he asserts that “The letter kills, but the spirit gives life.” ( 2 Corinthians 3:6)

    You accuse me of biblical ignorance. I maintain that new revelations are going over your head.

    These higher senses are not obvious and require lots of study and an open mind.

    As for my question of who to pray to, your answer misses my major point about a problem that arises in Scripture when we think about God from the monstrous idea of three Persons. For instance, Jesus tells us that we cannot have access to the Father except through the Son. Yet, in the Lord’s prayer, we are told to pray DIRECTLY to the Father. Does this not bypass the Son and cut through the clutter and theological red tape?

    Furthermore, your theology does not provide me with ideas that can lead to new scientific research. That is what the main thrust of my blog is all about – discussing new dynamical ways by which theology can interface with science.

    In JOHN (1:1-3) we are told that everything that was created was created from the WORD. I do not find your theology adequate for throwing light and providing new details on this subject (except to demand faith).

  34. irishanglican says:

    godguy

    I have seen and read my share of mystical and higher life views. And known a few also, people that live in that realm. Question? Do you consider yourself a new age type?There are always people claiming that the scrpture text “really” means such and such. As I said, the eastern church and fathers tell us this is just metaphysical verbiage, without real spiritual merit. But, you can do what you please, this is the nature of our gift of some aspect of freedom and responsibility. Though man is hardly free spiritually!

    No sir, ya have the wrong guy with me. If you are on some mystic higher plane than I am, then way bother with my poor feeble ways? I am something of the old churchman, I follow the historic High Church, I hope both the best of east & west, at least that is what I seek. We must have the whole Apostolic Church!

    Scientific research? This really has nothing to do with the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church. No our truth is “spiritual”, not that it anti-science. But our truth is theological. Thus the best of our truth is seen from the beauty and form of dogmatic theology. This is our best expression! As Enamuel Swedenborg, he was more of a scientist and western philosopher. But there is a consensus at least among mainstream theology, that when he turned to theology, his studies tended to obscure his past science. His premise that he was brought into the realm of some vision and that his senses were opened so that he might be in the spiritual world, can only be regarded as a spiritualist “medium”. Though he is also regarded as not properly a mystic, “for his dry, matter-of-fact accounts of the spiritual world and in his acutely reasoned theology there is little in common with mysticism. His manner is still that of the scientific and philosophic investigator.” (Britannica)

    Finally, Swedenborg’s rejection of the Divine Trinity and also his rejection of the tripersonal creation of man (Augustine) and St. Paul (1 Thes. 5:23) necessarily rejects the orthodox conceptions of redemption. Also with all this the fact that his society was founded in England, and that The New Jerusalem Churches still advocate his “science”, prove that his method and message was and still is western, but based also on a spiritualist and “medium” aspect. This is simply not historic Christianity!

    Fr. Robert

  35. AussieMan says:

    I’d like to put forth some ideas of my own, if you do not mind.

    I have a few things to say about the topic of 3 Gods or 1 God.

    I’ve noticed that in the last week or so, this blog has many posts and the conversation revolves around the Biblical understanding of 3 Gods or 1 God, as the title of the Post.

    One participant, the Blog Owner, is highly read in the doctrines of Swedenborgian. The other participant is an Anglican brother that graduated Theological School under Eastern Orthodoxy.

    The main question to back up from the situation and ask is this:

    Can a child of God find their way by listening to the teachers of religion of the different Christian denominations; which happen to understand the same passages of scripture so differently as to destroy all confidence in settling the question by an appeal to the Bible?

    There has always been a good amount of disagreement pertaining to man’s understanding of the literal, or higher spiritual meanings of scripture. Because of this “disagreement”, the different religions, Christian or otherwise, become very hostile at times with each other. Not to say that the main two writers on this blog post are hostile at all. You both are putting forth the views, as best as you know them, of the different Christian faiths that you both champion.

    All of the “nit picking” of doctrine can be done away with one single doctrine that is almost universally taught in all religions, Christian or otherwise.

    The doctrine is Prayer.

    In James 1:5 we read:
    “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.”

    Also:
    “Ask and ye shall receive. Knock and it shall be opened unto you.”

    I know that asking our Heavenly Father in sincere prayer, is the best way to know of a doctrine’s truthfulness. Then have the humility to stay on your knees and listen to the spirit as he shares the mysteries of God with you.

    I have more to write, but I would like to close for now and see if it ok to post more on this blog, if it is welcome.

    Thank you
    JP

  36. thegodguy says:

    Dear JP,

    Welcome to the discussion.

    You are correct. A child of God can receive answers through prayer. The more one prays the more answers one will receive. Eventually, one can collect enough answers to write a book or a blog. Once you have a book or a blog the “nit picking” begins.

    The topic of the Divine Trinity lends itself to a deep discussion about God and the ultimate reality. But if you can do away with all the “nit picking” then your comments will be most highly desired.

  37. irishanglican says:

    AussieMan,

    Just to clarify about me, my education is western…two doctorates, but my love for the Orthodox has come later (last 15 years or so). I am still learning about Eastern (so-called) Orthodoxy. The Orthodox are experiencing a worldwide rebirth. But I have belonged to an Anglican-Orthodox society for dialogue also.

    I have indeed come to accept the full Ecumenical Council of Nicaea I (325). Which condemned Arianism and declared the Son “consubstantial” with the Father. This can be maintained very simply with the biblical texts. But that does not remove the mystery. Something that will always remain in any discussion about the nature of GOD!

    The very nature of the Ecumenical Council means that it was and is worldwide. Christians and leaders coming from all over to talk, listen, dialog. Then with prayer, they vote and believing in God’s good providence and purpose, the issues are declared. In the case of Nicaea (the first council). The issue: the proper biblical and theological doctrine of the Trinity of God! Since that time almost all mainline Christians have held to the creedal Trinitarian aspect to the Council. And many, like the Eastern Orthodox, on who’s ground and location the Council took place believe it infallible!

    For me this is not “nit picking”, but part of the very heart nature of the doctrine of God triune!

    But thanks to remind us that really nothing good comes without prayer and humility. May God help me on the latter.

    Fr. Robert…an Irishman mate!

  38. AussieMan says:

    Thank you brethren for allowing me to contribute to the discussion. I wish that my comments would not be censored by the blog owner “thegodguy”. I wrote about ¼ more on the last post that was not seen. That part of the last post, set the tone that was in the post. It is relevant to the conversation.

    Lets develop this idea of man turning to the scriptures to prove the doctrine of their point of view. Here are a few examples:

    1. The manner and purpose of baptism
    2. The manner and purpose of the sacrament. “Eucharist” if you are Catholic.
    3. Which translation and books to include in the Bible. The standard King James edition vs NIV translation. Also, the Catholic version with the Apocrypha. (not to pick on Catholics, this example just comes to mind.)

    These are three of hundreds of examples of the different polar opposite points of doctrine of the different Christian religions. Whether dogmatic faiths with strict doctrinal beliefs, such as the Catholic and Protestant faiths; or the less structured faiths of the Pentecostal branches of Christianity.

    Again, to restate the obvious question….

    Can a child of God find their way by listening to the teachers of religion of the different Christian denominations; which happen to understand the same passages of scripture so differently as to destroy all confidence in settling the question by an appeal to the Bible?

    With an equally powerful doctrinal question about “3 Gods or 1 God”, I have read both “thegodguy” and the “irishanglican” state their views about why they believe there is one god triune or 3 separate gods.

    Isn’t this a point of doctrine that can be proven both ways by the same Bible, much like the other examples above?

    Isn’t trying to prove a point of doctrine by the Bible and other books by men that have their own ideas on the Bible fruitless in the face so many different views of doctrine coming from the same texts?

    I know that God the Eternal Father lives. We worship the living God. But, understanding his true nature is the basis of faith upon his Son’s name. Without a basic understanding of the true and living God, all else will be built on a shaky or sandy foundation. So, that is why this question of 3 Gods or 1 God is so important. But, how are we to obtain the truth, with so many differing points of doctrine?

    Obviously scriptures alone can’t do it. The 2 brethren here, are using the same scriptures and ideas from the scriptures to prove their case. Prayer alone is often not enough. Because the 2 brethren here have turned to their Father in Heaven in sincere prayer and apparently have gotten different answers.

    Confusion abounds in the different Christian faiths. Where do we turn for the true answers that we can depend on?

    I hope I am not posing too bold of a question. I will write more tomorrow, if you allow me to. Thank you

  39. thegodguy says:

    Dear AussieMan,

    I enjoy boldness! So do my readers.

    Concerning the eight sentences that I edited out from your first post, I simply felt that it was not relevant to the conversation and sent you a personal email regarding that matter.

    I would be glad to reprint your original “full” post if you convince me (via email) why I rushed to judgement.

    Spiritually yours.
    The GodGuy

  40. irishanglican says:

    thegodguy, AussieMan

    When we started this blog, which is yours of course. I said I would proceed only for myself under certain presppositions. Now, at least for you and I, we have fired our shots, stated our ideas somewhat. I must confess that I am writing on the fly a bit, so I don’t think I have been able to give it my best shot. But fired a bit I have.

    Now however, I would like to make a few spiritual points. First, though I have been a seminary professor, I have always been a priest first. And in this always seeing myself as a pastor-teacher. Again, at least this is my calling by God I believe. And from here I would say this: The Parable of the Sower – Matt.13:1-23. What kind of “ground” that we have prepared our hearts to receive and understand God’s word is very important! For without the proper “heart” and thus mind, we simply never understand the Word of God, or the spiritual things that God would teach us. And so here I can see the real issue. Are we truly seeking God? And are we truly seeking God on HIS terms? These are questions our Lord laid bear before us in the Parable of the Sower. I will not go into detail and interpertation, I will leave that for whoever reads this and desires to read the Parable. But without the proper heart and ground, we will never understand, nor produce the fruit the God asks for, and in the end even demands.

    Sincerely In Christ,
    Father Robert

  41. irishanglican says:

    *presuppositions (we know I can type or spell! lol)

  42. thegodguy says:

    Dear Fr, Robert,

    I absolutely love your post on the Parable of the Sower! It MAKES MY POINT that there is a higher, spiritual meaning to the literal text. There are points in Scripture where this is more transparent than others. It was the Lord’s divine strategy to speak “only in parables” to prepare human minds for making the necessary quantum leap in cognition. (This is essential for continued revelations.)

    It is obvious to you that the ground that is to be prepared in the parable is psycho-topological, that is, the inner landscape of our heart and mind.

    This is the same “ground” that the Garden of Eden occupied. When Adam and Eve were removed from the Garden it indicated a move away from WISDOM and INNOCENCE (and not physical banishment).

    Similarly, the fruit we are to produce for God was also represented in the Genesis story by God pointing out to Adam and Eve which things were good to eat and what was not.

    Do you find it impossible to apply the same “elevated” interpretations of the Parable of the Sower to the Garden of Eden?

  43. irishanglican says:

    thegodguy

    First, Jesus “Parables”are his distinctive way to teach through short comparisons or story-narratives. Mostly they have one central point and idea. For the most part Jesus parables are clear, but some are spoken in a certain depth of meaning that one in only a right spirit and relationship to Jesus can understand. In the parable of the sower only to the disciples does Jesus give the right understanding and interpretation (Matt.13:11-12;16) And again, there is only one group that really produces the fruit, that is productive, (verse 23). These are on “the good ground”. It is not some special esoteric people, but those who with simple hearts and minds commit themselves to Christ. Lordship and discipleship demands full faith and commitment to Christ! As someone has said, salvation is free, but it costs “us” everything! This is the doctrine of “theosis”! The process in which God’s life fills and transforms mine; in the end, I no longer live, but Christ lives in me.

    As to the Genesis narrative, a good place to see the apostolic comparison would be 2 Cor. 4:6, “For it is the God who commanded light to shine out of darkness, who HAS shone in our hearts to give the light (an illumination, Gk.) of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.” And thus St. Paul can also say: “But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellence of the power may be of God and NOT OF US.” (2 Cor. 4:7)

    And certainly when the sinful human heart has been touched by God in His redemptive grace and glory, there is as St. Paul says: “So if (therefore) anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation…” (2 Cor. 5:17). And yet again, this is not just some esoteric or gnostic thing, but the gift of God’s reconciliation. “All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ..” (verse 18)

    To put this in both Pauline biblical language, and E. Orthodoxy theology: it is God’s synergy – Phil. 2:12-13. Thus, the new creation in the Christian is the Pneuma-Christou. For us, Christ’s spirit, or Christ-spirit (Rom.8:9) There is no article in the Greek. This is not another name for the Holy Spirit. But this pneuma-Christou is the new nature which makes us “sons/children of God” as He is “the Son of God”. Again thus, the new creation within us is called pneuma-Christou, because “the Holy Spirit Himself bears wintess with our spirit (or new nature) that we are children of God (Rom.8:16). And note, “now if any man (person) have not pneuma-Christou (or the new nature) he is none of His” (Rom.8:9).

    Indeed our Christian positions by grace and God’s glory, these are our “elevations” In Christ!

    Fr. Robert

  44. thegodguy says:

    Dear Fr. Robert,

    You have made it perfectly clear to me that you believe the Lord God only made use of symbolism and analogy during his teachings on earth.

    This is precisely why Revelation presents such a challenge to the literal mind when it comes to the interpretation of its strange events.

    If you think that a Great Red Dragon is going to threaten a pregnant woman standing on the moon then the only resolution to our disagreement is just to sit and wait for this event to happen.

    I feel confident this will not take place in my lifetime so I invite my youngest readers to keep watch after I am gone. If it does not happen in your lifetimes, either, then simply pass on this message to the following generations as needed.

    Meanwhile, I have a telescope that gives me a good look at the moon. If I see something biblical taking place I will quickly report back to you.

  45. irishanglican says:

    thegodguy,

    I guess this means we are done? I must confess that I don’t think you understand the whole literal / spiritual biblical issues. I certainly don’t take a literal view to Revelation 12. And any scientific view of Scripture would certainly be western alone and rational from the age of the enlightenment. But the revelation of God both Church and Scripture is not in this purview, at least to my mind-set and understanding.

    Thanks to let me ride along a bit.

    God’s Blessings to all,
    Fr. Robert

  46. irishanglican says:

    The Conflict of The Word

    “The struggles that the militant Church is engaged in are rarely clear-cut in their issues; they do not often appear as a battle beween Christ and anti-Christ. Standing outside them or viewing them over a distance of the years, we can see what was at stake and can simplify them into one of the battles in the war of the Word of God.” ~ Quoted from T.H.L. Parker’s book: Portrait Of Calvin

    Fr. Robert

  47. AussieMan says:

    Hello Brethren,

    Don’t go quite yet “irishanglican”. You both have just answered the question I posed earlier.

    As I have read, I have seen the conversation of “3 Gods or 1 God” take a turn into literal VS. spiritual biblical interpretation. This is yet another example of the differences of beliefs within the Christian faiths.

    So, to share the understanding as I have found…the question of “which doctrine is correct in our God’s eyes?” is the central idea.

    Are either of you correct in God’s eyes? If so, which one, and how are the rest of us to know the correct doctrine as taught by Jesus Christ?

    When Paul was speaking to the Ephesians in Chapter 4, he was trying to chop down the current tide of false doctrine being taught in the church and to say the every member of the church has a place and an important job to do for the body of Christ. Lets face it, many were first generation Christians.

    (Ephesians Chapter 4 : Verses 11-15)
    11 And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;
    12 For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:
    13 Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:
    14 That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;
    15 But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ:

    Not to say that either of you are bad as some of the wolves in sheep’s clothing that were around when the early Christian Church was formed. Far from it. I find you both honorable upright men.

    But, the fact still is that Christianity in its many shapes and forms is very splintered doctrinally. Was it supposed to be that way?

    Aren’t we supposed to do as the Savior says and worship God the Father in Truth?

    What are the true doctrinal points of Gospel as the Savior taught them and as were taught in the Early Christian Church? This is a huge question…

    When it comes down to truth and who has it; this is a matter of AUTHORITY to teach the true Gospel of the Son of God. AUTHORITY which is given from God directly to man. Which of all the Christian churches today even dare claim such authority? Good question….

  48. thegodguy says:

    Dear Fr. Robert,

    Please help me out. You understand that the Lord’s parables are not to be taken literally and you don’t take Revelation 12 literally. Yet you don’t accept the premise that the story in the Garden of Eden has a non-literal meaning.

    How do you decide between what is literal and what is not? Other than faith, on what basis can you provide ACTUAL evidence for the sanctity of Scripture unless it is a multi-dimensional document with levels of meaning that surpass human creative capacity?

  49. thegodguy says:

    Dear AussieMan,

    I do not know how familiar you are with Swedenborg’s theological works, but he most definitely makes the bold claim that he was given AUTHORITY by God to reveal new Christian doctrines to the world.

    Now then, I have told you who dares claim such authority, so please give me your stand on the issue of “Three Gods or One God?”

    I assume you have a lot to share with my readers concerning this most important topic.

  50. irishanglican says:

    thegodman, AussieMan

    First, I think each biblical textual situation demands its own hermeneutical perspective, but I think also we must always assume that it is literal first. And then only move into other spiritual and typological places as needed. This is the basic interpretative of most all the Church Fathers, save perhaps Philo, but he was a Hellenistic Jew from Alexandria. And from him we have his idea in Genesis as a vast and copious allegorical commentary. The main idea is that the characters in Genesis appear in allegories of states of the soul. All persons and actions being interpreted in this sense, the work as a whole is a very extensive body of psychology and ethics. I spend some time here, for who really knows what effect he had on both Jewish and later Christian sects? Montanism, etc.

    The main purpose of the teaching of Genesis is of course the doctrine of God! And in the creation narrative it is: “In the beginning God” (Heb. Elohim, plural) This denotes His majesty, and for some Christian commentators also the first sign of God triune. Its historical narrative furnished the theological and ethical underpinnings of the Torah Israel’s unique covenantal relationship with God (Gen. 3:15/ Deut.9:5).

    And also what is begun in Genesis is fulfilled in Christ. The genealogy begun in chapter 5, and advanced in chapter 11, is completed with the birth of Jesus Christ (Matt.1/ Luke 3:23-27). And He is the ultimate offspring promised to Abraham (12:1-3 / Gal. 3:16). This is the salvation history of God! (Heb. 1:1-4)

    As to the creation of Adam and Eve, in Gen.1:26, “Let us” the Divine purpose is here stated, but the Divine act is not described till chapter 2:7, 21-24. Also, we must honor the truth of the figures of speech used in the Bible. Figures are never used but for the sake of emphasis. Ignorance of figures of speech has led to the grossest errors, which have been caused either from taking literally what is figurative, or from taking figuratively what is literal. “A figure of speech is a designed and legitimate departure from the laws of language, in order to emphasise what is said.” But again, we must be lead by the context, culture, and even the theological thought. Today after two thousand years of Judeo-Christian ministry and blessing, in both the Scripture and the Apostolic Church, we have the measure of all truth that God wants and will continue to give.

    Fr. Robert

  51. irishanglican says:

    thegodguy,

    Question, can you give us your view and belief, as to the Death and the Atonement of Christ? This is center place in any true doctrine of both Christ and His Church!

    Fr. Robert

    • havau22 says:

      Time would fail me to quote the passages in which he plainly declares that He came to reveal the Divine truth to men, to bring the Divine life down to them, and to open their eyes to see it. He says nothing about satisfaction, about the payment of debt. He is the good Shepherd, the great Physician, the perfect Teacher, the faithful Exemplar in every work. He did come to make an atonement, to make us at one with Him and the Father who dwells within Him. He assumed a human Nature because He could not come to man in any other way. He did what a just, wise, and loving father would do. If one of your children had wandered from home, had spent all his living, was sick and dying, would you not do all in your power to save him? Would you not spend time, money, labor; would you not provide yourself with all the instrumentalities in your power that were necessary to reach him? And do you suppose that infinite love, compared with which your love is not so much as a drop of water to ,the ocean, would refuse to be reconciled to His lost and dying children until he had received full compensation for their sin; until there had been measured to Him, “eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, burning for burning, wound for wound, stripe for stripe,” or an exact equivalent? It cannot be. Reason, Scripture, the perceptions of justice and mercy which the Lord has given us, and the deep, spontaneous yearnings of our own hearts, declare it to be impossible. No, the Lord did not come into the world to satisfy the demands of an inflexible and arbitrary justice. He came rather to satisfy the demands of infinite love; not to pay a debt, but to reach the dying soul, to cleanse it from its impurities; to heal its diseases; to mould it into His own image and likeness, and fill it with His own peace and blessedness.

      • thegodguy says:

        Thank you for contributing to this important topic.

        My points would be clarified if it were known to all serious seekers of the truth that God’s Word has three levels of meaning – a natural or literal level, a spiritual level and a divine level. When one has these multi-levelled interpretations at hand that person will also grasp that Jesus and Jehovah are one and the same, and that the Glorification involved the Lord unifying his human (earthly) nature with his deeper divine nature in heaven.

        Spiritually yours,
        TheGodGuy

      • havau22 says:

        your welcome,take care and God bless.

  52. irishanglican says:

    thegodguy,

    Also enlighten us about Swedenborg’s, envisage of the spiritual world containing various groupings of deceased human beings which make up a single human being?
    If this is not “spiritist”? What is it? I have one more big one (question), important to me. But I will save that till last.

    Fr. Robert

    PS My turn for a few questions.

  53. thegodguy says:

    Dear Fr. Robert,

    Philo sounds like my kind of guy and offers support for Swedenborg. Why would the Lord God of Heaven be concerned with anything other than the state of our soul? The Holy Word is not simply a historical account of physical events. Its narratives describe our inner world – the changes in the qualities of human souls and the faith-systems that were “begotten” from these changing qualities.

    The generations proceeding from Adam, such as Cain and Seth (to name just two), represent the birth of different kinds of “worship” which degenerated until the time of Noah. Adam, Cain, Seth and Noah represent “churches.”

    Inconsistency is imperfection. Imperfection is not something we can attribute to God. This is why Swedenborg makes the point that God’s Holy Word and the canonical Bible have differences. Those differences have to do with whether the text in question has deeper meanings (and is the work of God) or lacks an internal sense (the works of men).

    Again, how else can we RATIONALLY determine the authority and sanctity of the Holy Word but through deeper levels of revelation – that point to God’s Infinite Wisdom and Love. Where does one look for the sacredness of Scripture if one is left only with the ordinary meanings of words?

    Can you not see how much more profound Genesis becomes when viewed as a divine allegory? Rather then a description of physical creation its story actually conveys our re-creation. Genesis becomes epigensis. The Genesis story starts by describing the spiritual state of the human spirit as being a “void” and in “darkness.” Each stage (from evening to morning), represents the profound sequence and process by which the Lord God reforms and regenerates humankind – creating a fruitful “Garden” within our heart and mind.

    Even if you reject such things how do you dismiss the fact that Swedenborg discovered deeper meanings that ONLY augmented the doctrine of God? Everything Swedenborg covers has reference to the doctrine of God. Not once will you find him straying from this as he discloses the higher meaning of scripture.

    I am glad that you have had some exposure to this kind of thinking (like Philo). I find it to be powerful stuff!

  54. thegodguy says:

    Dear Fr. Robert,

    I am running into a problem concerning your posts. It seems that my system is allowing your comments to appear on my blog without my being able to preview them first. So this allows you to send several posts before I can respond to even one.

    This becomes a problem when I am off working on other projects for lengthy periods of time.

    Normally, I would review a post, approve it, then follow with my own response. For some reason this is not possible with you. All the posts from AussieMan are first reviewed before approval. This allows me to manage the flow of the discussion (it is my blog after all).

    I could have sworn that my latest response to you came after your post which addressed Philo. So I was surprised to see two more posts of yours now wedged in between. I would prefer it if you could withhold your responses until I can respond – especially since you are changing the direction of the discussion in drastic ways.

    Speaking of changing directions, I feel this is unnecessary until we have exhausted the topic at hand, which is “Three Gods or One God?” I am still awaiting what AussieMan has to say on this topic.

    You can be sure I have a lot to say about the death and atonement of Christ and Swedenborg’s view of the reality of the Spiritual World. Be patient a while longer (I may want to address these other important issues on new posts).

    Again, thank you for your scholarly contributions to the discussion.

  55. irishanglican says:

    thegodguy,

    I know this is your blog, but I do hope you might answer my questions also?

    As I stated, people like Philo cannot be put into the biblical and proper sacred tradition of even the Judeo revelation. Philo followed Plato, with the later Pythagoreans and with the Stoics. Philo’s doctrine of God starts from the idea that God is a being absolutely bare of quality, no substance and accidental quality, or of matter and form. A consistent application of Philo’s abstract conception of God would exclude the possibility of any active realtion of God to the world, for a being absolutely without quality and movement cannot be conceived as actively concerned with individual beings. And in the end Philo presses his thought into a form of transmigration of souls. All of this is really of pagan notion and not really good Jewish theology and thought at all. Again this end is simply no higher meaning of scripture.

    It seems to me that you are caught up, as was Swedenborg, in some false idea to as to see things in Scripture, and even beyond, that are both not there and that God does not want us to even think, or search into. What do you do with this text of Rev. 22:19? While this text perhaps is inclined to the Book of Revelation alone. It does indicate the seriousness of God’s Word!

    Indeed Biblical Interpretaion and exegesis is no little work or effort. It demands our best mind and ability. I have spent most of my adult life seeking and trying to understand it. But in that effort I have read the biblical text itself, using the original languages, also. And also reading other men and women that I have labored and studied the Word in their lifetime. But best of all is the promise of God in both his Word, Church, and His living Tradition! In this I will point you to one of my favorite men of God, Fr. Georges Florovsky, now with the Master. His writing: Scripture and Tradition: An Orthodox Point of View. This would be a good read! If you can read something outside of Swedenborg?

    Fr. Robert

  56. irishanglican says:

    thegodguy,

    Sorry, but I am writing on the fly. I had thought we were done too? But I will try to keep one less ‘iron in the fire’. lol I do have a life as priest and pastor also.

    Fr, Robert

  57. thegodguy says:

    Dear Fr. Robert,

    You have already stated that you do not take Revelation 12 literally. How do you then reconcile your own position with Revelation 22:19? When narratives offer deeper meanings the literal words still preserve the seriousness of Scripture.

    I did not say I supported Philo’s idea of God. I supported his notion of the use of allegory in Scripture.

    Swedenborg’s application of higher meaning does not exclude God’s real activity in the world or relationship with individual beings. Swedenborg says that there are real historical events and real people in Scripture but on the highest level of interpretation all these things still refer to some aspect of God. No mortal or finite being is holy enough to be mentioned in Scipture unless that person can come to represent something of God (how’s that for the seriousness of God’s Word!).

    According to Swedenborg, the highest level of scriptural interpretation deals with Christology. Even the Old Testament is Christocentric!

    This is impossible to grasp from the mere literal sense of the words. This Christocentric level of meaning is what the Lord was teaching his disciples on their journey to Emmaus, when, beginning with the story of Moses, the Lord “expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself.” (Luke 24:27)

    You keep bringing up tradition. Your tradition would stand in the way of what the Lord was trying to reveal to His disciples!

    Spiritually yours,
    theGodGuy

  58. irishanglican says:

    thegodguy,

    One cannot have Christology with Christ, the biblical Christ. As I have asked you (since you side-step my posts) what do you believe about the Death and Atonement of the Christ? And if you reject that Jesus is both God and Man in one person – God/Man, but One Person…as Chalcedon, how can you have Christology proper?

    And ya cannot have it both ways, with this idea of Philo. And “my tradition” is much larger than yours! It is Catholic & Apostolic, and I believe 2,000 years old! Swedenborg? What did the Church do before he came along? And this one man have some “spiritist” visions? There have been other one man shows…Joseph Smith. And the Mormons are bigger than Swedenborg Churches. Do ya get me point?

    Fr. Robert

  59. irishanglican says:

    *without Christ

  60. irishanglican says:

    thegodguy

    I think we have run our course here, least for me. I can see that we are just not gett’in there! We are from two different positions and different persuasions!

    Thanks again,
    Fr. Robert

  61. thegodguy says:

    Dear Fr. Robert,

    You have represented your position admirably. You have given my readers lots of material to digest and form there own opinions.

    With deepest respect and gratitude,
    theGodGuy

  62. AussieMan says:

    Dear IrishAnglican and TheGodGuy,

    I think you hit the nail on the head IrishAnglican.

    Did Angels, Jesus, or God the Father come down out of heaven and speak with Swedenborg?

    Not to ruffle any feathers thegodguy, it is a legit question. With all humility, we must ask it.

    Because, as already shown, the Christian Churches of today are very splintered doctrinally. But, Christ’s true church, the one founded by himself and formed with Apostles and prophets at the head, was under one set of doctrine and truth. The IrishAnglican knows it…… I know it……. The Apostolic succession of the Popes from nearly 2000 years ago directly from Peter. Peter had the Power and Authority to speak scripture in the name of God. Peter had the divine “stamp of approval”, if you will. So did all the Apostles whom held the keys of the kingdom jointly.

    This Apostolic power to speak in the name of God to become scripture is what the rest of the Christian world has been looking for, for centuries.

    Either the keys of the kingdom rest confidently and assuredly in the Roman Catholic Church, as they say they do, OR they don’t.

    If the Roman Catholic Church has turned away and taken doctrines of men and mixed them with the true doctrines of Christ, then they have lost the power to speak in God’s name long ago.

    Thus, if this is the case, and the Church that Christ established long ago with Peter, James, and John never passed the keys and authority to speak in God’s name along to further generations of apostles and prophets, then men and brethren, ………we have a Great Apostasy from the True Doctrinal Points of the Gospel of Christ.

    One can see evidence of this Great Falling Away or “Apostasy” from the Truth in many of the New Testimate letters.

    (2nd Epistle of Paul the Apostle to Timothy Chap 4 verses 1-4)
    Here Paul gave a solemn charge to preach the gospel in a day of apostasy

    1 I CHARGE thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom;
    2 Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.
    3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears;
    4 And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.
    I know that the Great Apostasy did happen.

    That is why there is such a large number of Christian Churches teaching “the doctrine of Christ” as they understand it. It was not meant to be this way. We are supposed to “come to a unity of the faith.”

    Therefore, the most incredible conclusion has to be drawn.

    If the Great Apostasy happened and the Keys of the Kingdom and Authority to speak in God’s name as scripture were lost with the Apostles of the New Testimate,…only a RESTORATION of the true gospel DIRECTLY from heaven to man would make things right and allow our Father in Heaven’s light of truth to shine on man’s face once again.

    This would mean passing the Keys of the Kingdom from the men who held it last unto men in this time.

    It would mean that a “Restoration of All Things” would be needed.

    As the IrishAnglican already pointed out. He has heard the story of Joseph Smith and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (Mormons).

    I myself am a happy and well studied, 10 year adult convert to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. I am an Elder in the Church. I am a humble seeker of truth from any source, regardless of religion; Swedenborg, Roman Catholic, Orthodox or otherwise.

    I feel impressed to share a short story I read in a book called “A Marvelous Work and a Wonder” by Legrand Richards. I think the IrishAnglican will like this one.

    “Elder Orson F Whitney of the counsel of the Twelve Apostles of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints related the following incident under the heading “A Catholic Utterance.””

    “Many years ago a learned man, a member of the Roman Catholic Church, came to Utah and spoke from the stand of the Salt Lake Tabernacle. I became well-acquainted with him, and we conversed freely and frankly. A great scholar, with perhaps a dozen languages at his tongue’s end, he seemed to know all about theology, law, literature, science and philosophy. One day he said to me: “You Mormons are all ignoramuses. You don’t even know the strength of your own position. It is so strong that there is only one other tenable in the whole Christian world, and that is the position of the Catholic Church. The issue is between Catholicism and Mormonism. If we are right, and you are wrong; if you are right, we are wrong; and that’s all there is to it. The Protestants haven’t a leg to stand on. For, if we are wrong, they are wrong with us, since they were a part of us and went out from us; while if we are right, they are apostates whom we cut off long ago. If we have the apostolic succession from St. Peter, as we claim, there is no need of Joseph Smith and Mormonism; but if we have not that succession, then such a man as Joseph Smith was necessary, and Mormonism’s attitude is the only consistent one. It is either the perpetuation of the gospel from ancient times, or the restoration of the gospel in latter days.”

    As needed to fully restore the true gospel doctrines to the Earth once more, God the Father restored the Keys of the Kingdom and the Authority to speak in the Name of God to Joseph Smith, whom he called as an Apostle and Prophet of God.

    In the Spring of 1820, Joseph Smith was first visited by the Savior Jesus Christ himself, in person, much like Paul the Apostle on the road to Damascus. Joseph was told that there was a work for him to do.

    Subsequently, Joseph was visited by John the Baptist, as an angel, with witnesses present. John confired upon Joseph the Keys of the Aaronic Priesthood, as John the Baptist was the one whom held those keys anciently.

    Next, Joseph was visited by Peter, James, and John, the apostles of old as angels, with witnesses present. They confired upon Joseph Smith the keys of the Melchizedek Priesthood. Which same Priesthood the Savior himself confired upon Peter, James, and John in the Meridian of Time.

    Since then, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints has held the Keys of the Kingdom and the Authority to speak in the Name of God.

    The same power and authority of God resides with the Church today and there is a Prophet that speaks with God directly and 12 Apostles at the head.

    I know that what I have written is true. I know that God lives and that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is lead directly by God the Father, through his only begotten Son, Jesus Christ. There is a modern Prophet and 12 Apostles guiding the church through direct revelation from God.

    I would love to share my view of “3 Gods or 1 God”. But, first we must dive in and establish which point of view is God’s point of view and true doctrine. Which comes down to a matter of Authority received directly from God the Father himself.

    Which Church, Religion, or people have authority to talk for God?

  63. thegodguy says:

    Dear AussieMan,

    Something told me that I was not going to get your answer to the issue of “Three Gods or One God,” right away.

    That’s fine (I have a big heart), but I have neither charged you or irishanglican with deliberately side-stepping issues. If you scroll up a bit you will see that I mentioned having lots to say about Swedenborg’s description of the Spiritual World and his theology concerning Christ’s death and atonement.

    I asked irishanglican to be patient while I decided if these HUGE topics needed to be discussed on new posts. In my current book project I use whole chapters to discuss these topics.

    But just to offer some empirical evidence that I am not side-stepping these issues with you or my readers please go to my previous posts entitled “Jesus is Jehovah,” and “The Divine Rope-A-Dope.” They will give you a taste of where I would take such a discussion.

    I have also addressed Swedenborg’s idea of the Spiritual world in several earlier posts, and will continue to add more details in future posts.

    Okay now, please share with me and my readers your take on Authority.

    Spiritually yours,
    TheGodGuy

  64. irishanglican says:

    thegodguy, AussieMan

    I shall continue to look on and read perhaps now “your” thoughts, etc.

    I am very busy, but I shall check in now and then..as I am able, etc.

    Sincerely in Christ,
    Fr. Robert

  65. thegodguy says:

    Dear Fr, Robert

    You are a valuable reader and contributor. Hang in there!

  66. AussieMan says:

    Hi thegodguy,

    Lots to do this evening. I’ll post soon.

    I would like to keep the dialog moving as much as you would.

    Best,
    Aussie Man

  67. thegodguy says:

    Dear AussieMan,

    Please take all the time you need, These issues require lots of thought – especially when one is trying to make one’s point within the limitations of a blog.

    I am attempting to promote thoughtful and insightful dialog. Thank you for participating!

    Spiritually yours,
    TheGodGuy

  68. AussieMan says:

    Good Evening TheGodGuy,

    I wanted to thank the IrishAnglican for giving input to the topic of Three Gods or One God. If you want to jump back in, don’t hesitate. I’d like to hear from you some more.

    I have read the “Divine Rope-a-Dope” and the “Jesus as Jehovah“

    Thank you for suggesting those. They are an important read to understand where you are coming from.

    But, there is something that was forgotten in the blog posts, that I haven’t read yet…..Where did E. Swedenborg receive his Authority to say that he has our Father in Heaven’s full truth? If one doesn’t have that piece of the puzzle in place, that person is no better than anyone else that reads the Bible and gives their opinion as to what the scripture means. Which as already pointed out, this is the current state of the doctrinally fractured Christianity as a whole.

    When Peter, James, and John the Beloved were alive, the Church of Jesus Christ was on the Earth with full Authority to speak the will of God, mind of God, and doctrine of God.

    If those Keys of the Kingdom, did not get passed on through Apostolic succession, then the Authority died with the martyred Apostles. A “Reformation” as Martin Luther, John Calvin, John Knox, and others were trying to accomplish to bring the whole Roman Catholic Church back in line with Biblical beliefs would not be enough. The Authority had been washed away long before the Counsel of Nicene, that produced the first Nicene Creed.

    For the Keys of Authority to be given to man again, a full “Restoration” would be needed. Indeed, a “Restoration of All Things” as talked about by the mouths of holy prophets from the beginning of this world, has been accomplished.

    The message of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is that the heavens have been parted. God once again, speaks with man directly. Prophets and Apostles that hold the Keys of the Kingdom of God have been called chosen and set apart to minister in the world. To call the world to repentance and declare that Jesus is the Christ.

    To share the simple saving truths of the Gospel as taught in the holy Bible. And that God’s lips are not sealed, as previously thought by the rest of Christianity. That he speaks still !!!

    Let me give you, and your most kind readers an example of the power of a living Prophet.

    But, remember don’t take my word for it. There is a way that anyone can know the truthfulness of these things. You can kneel down in humble sincere prayer and ask your Heavenly Father, in the name of Jesus Christ, if these things are true. Then be willing to “listen” or “feel” as the Holy Ghost tells you the truth of these things. I have done this myself, and I know that Joseph Smith was a real Prophet of God. The Holy Spirit has confirmed this to me.

    Example:
    This is the writing of Joseph Smith about a Revelation he and the Apostle Sidney Rigdon had at Hiram Ohio Feb 16 1832. Joseph was translating the Bible at the time and this revelation happened to both of them (not just Joseph) as they came to John 5:29.

    The full revelation can be found in the book of the Doctrine and Covenants of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints Section 76: verses 11-24.

    “ 11 We, Joseph Smith, Jun., and Sidney Rigdon, being ain the Spirit on the sixteenth day of February, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and thirty-two—
    12 By the power of the aSpirit our beyes were opened and our understandings were enlightened, so as to see and understand the things of God—
    13 Even those things which were from the beginning before the world was, which were ordained of the Father, through his Only Begotten Son, who was in the bosom of the Father, even from the abeginning;
    14 Of whom we bear record; and the record which we bear is the fulness of the gospel of Jesus Christ, who is the Son, whom we saw and with whom we aconversed in the heavenly bvision.
    15 For while we were doing the work of atranslation, which the Lord had appointed unto us, we came to the twenty-ninth verse of the fifth chapter of John, which was given unto us as follows—
    16 Speaking of the resurrection of the dead, concerning those who shall ahear the voice of the bSon of Man:
    17 And shall come forth; athey who have done bgood, in the cresurrection of the djust; and they who have done evil, in the resurrection of the unjust.
    18 Now this caused us to marvel, for it was given unto us of the Spirit.
    19 And while we ameditated upon these things, the Lord touched the eyes of our understandings and they were opened, and the bglory of the Lord shone round about.
    20 And we beheld the aglory of the Son, on the bright hand of the cFather, and received of his fulness;
    21 And saw the holy aangels, and them who are bsanctified before his throne, worshiping God, and the Lamb, who cworship him forever and ever.
    22 And now, after the many testimonies which have been given of him, this is the atestimony, last of all, which we give of him: That he blives!
    23 For we asaw him, even on the bright hand of cGod; and we heard the voice bearing record that he is the Only dBegotten of the Father—
    24 That by ahim, and through him, and of him, the bworlds are and were created, and the cinhabitants thereof are begotten dsons and daughters unto God. “

    This is just one piece of one revelation of the Prophet Joseph Smith in the book with about 135 more. Surely, this is on a much grander scale and plan then simply reading the scriptures and making ones own opinions, whether scientific or otherwise.

    The Holy Priesthood after the Order of the Son of God has been RESTORED from heaven. The Elders are going forth two by two to teach the word of God to the inhabitants of the world. I myself was a Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints Missionary to the great land of Australia. I served in the Brisbane Australia Mission for 2 years voluntarily.

    I converted to the Church as an Adult. When I saw the truth, I grabbed on with two hands and held on tight. I had 2 “Mormon Missionaries” that I allowed to teach me the Gospel of Jesus Christ. They laid out the Plan of Salvation right there in my living room.

    They answered the questions of:
    1. “Where did we come from?”
    2. “Where are we going after we die?”
    3. “What is the purpose of life?”

    These 2 young men, answered the questions that the most brilliant minds of all time have been trying to answer…Einstein, Aristotle, Socrates. They laid it all out…right there in my living room with the full priesthood authority of God !!!

    I as well as any Latter-Day Saint Elder can track our priesthood authority back to the Son of God himself by the laying on of hands. We have one continuous unbroken line of authority.

    I know the message they shared with me that day was of God.

    TheGodGuy, if you would allow me to be so bold…

    Will you allow me to set up an appointment to have the 2 Missionaries in your “neck of the woods” come to your home and share the same message they shared with me? If you are in the Michigan area, oh say near Flint….I would be happy to come. If you would like to come to the Lansing area, you can have dinner at my home. Will you allow me to set it up?

    I know J.T. goes to the Church camp up in the Flint area.

    What do you say?

    ————————————–

    PS. Yes or No, I’ll still post what the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints view is on 3 Gods or 1 God. However, I hope you take me up on my offer.

  69. thegodguy says:

    Dear AussieMan,

    I am trying to have a discussion on the Trinitarian Doctrine and you want to send me just two Missionaries? It must be a sign of the economy – the Mormon Church used to send three representatives to my house, and, for three visits. They dressed very well.

    My readers are interested in ideas and concepts, and although you feel you have scored big points on the “Authority” issue they still would like you to enlighten them about the Divine Trinity.

    To restate my view, a creed which divides God’s functionality into operations performed by THREE PERSONS is not monotheistic. This formula falls short because no single God is able to represent the fulness of God. The ONE True God lacks nothing.

    Please argue for or against my view on the merits of the concept, and whether or not it presents a more logical approach. Authority would never support illogicality.

  70. irishanglican says:

    thegodguy,

    Well we have fired some rounds down range! lol I will let some military friends ya might have explain that one?

    So I will now just share one of my favorite souls with you, her name: Blessed Elizabeth of the Trinity. She was a Carmelite R. Catholic nun, died 1906 at 26 I think? Of Addisons disease. She was a profound young French woman, who had a great love for the Trinity of God. And gave her young life up in life and love for HIM!

    ‘O my God, Trinity whom I adore…’

    ‘O my Three, my all, my Beatitude, infinite Solitude, Immensity in which I lose myself. I surrender myself to You as Your prey.’

    I think that in Heaven my mission will be to draw souls by helping them to go out of themslves in order to cling to God by a wholly simple and loving movement, and to keep them in this great silence within which will allow God to communicate Himself to them and transform them into Himself. ~ Blessed (soon to be on earth) St. Elizabeth of the Trinity!

    Fr. Robert

  71. thegodguy says:

    Dear Irishanglican,

    That is a wonderful mission to have, either here or in heaven. You are a true man of God.

  72. thegodguy says:

    Dear Irishanglican (and other readers),

    FYI – I have just written a new post which gives a short description of Swedenborg’s view of the Spiritual World and its inhabitants. It is entitled “Heaven is a mirror image of God’s Love.”

  73. lostandfound says:

    Hello gentlemen,

    When reading the bible I am hard pressed to find adequate representation of one God in 3 distinct persons. Instead scriptural evidence points me to one God Who is triune.

    Just as He created man, in His image and likeness, as a triune being: spirit, soul and body yet one person. God is triune as well: Father, Son and Holy Spirit yet one God.

    Would it make sense for me to call my soul a person? Of course not! I am a person and within me is a soul. This soul consists of mind, will and emotions. The Father is the soul of God. We cannot know His thoughts. He is jealous. He gets angry. He has compassion. He loves. Jesus only sought the will of the Father, never His own.

    My body is not a person. Without the soul my body is unable to think, unable to will, and has no emotion. My body without a spirit is dead and is detached from God. The Son is the body of God. Not just in His incarnation as the Christ but also in bringing forth creation as the Word or Logos. The body is not merely a physical presence but it carries out the will of the soul.

    My spirit is not a person. It is the part of me that was dead prior to being born again. It is what was removed from Adam and Eve when they disobeyed God in the garden of Eden. It is what connected Adam and Eve to God prior to the fall and it is what connects the regenerated believer to God after conversion. The Holy Spirit of God is the part of God that brings forth spiritual life and connects man to God.

    As Adam was one man consisting of 3 seperate parts, also Jesus is one God consisting of 3 seperate parts. Man was made in the image of God according to His likeness… Triune.

  74. lostandfound says:

    Jesus said “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” Yet in the book of acts baptisms were done in the name of Jesus.

    To me this indicates that either the disciples disobeyed Jesus (which they did not) or they understood that “in Him (Jesus) dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily.”

  75. irishanglican says:

    lostandfound,

    I think you are trading apples for oranges here, and your reasoning is flawed, i.e. logical fallacy. And again triune verses trinity? Check out “hypostases”.

    Also by definition theologically, your statements are modalist.

    And Jesus as the eternal Son of God: dual in nature, not dual in Person. Christ Jesus is prefect God and perfect Man: two natures, human & divine: One Person, the God-Man! “As God, Christ is eternally and consubtantially (of one essence) the “image” (Gr. eikon, “icon”) of the Father. As Man, Christ is the image in which man was made and toward which man is moving. In both natures, He fully represents and manifests the Father.” (OSB note Col. 2:15)

    Thanks to join in. Make sure you connect with thegodguy.

    Fr. Robert

  76. thegodguy says:

    Welcome back Fr. Robert!

    I have missed our lively conversation. Being Swedenborgian I tend to be more aligned with lostandfound. But I do have some differences.

    With all due respect to your academic credentials, words like “modalist” and “hypostases” are just that – simply words that neither prove or disprove your point of view.

    You believe that any view of God’s completeness other than as three distinct individuals (who could be seated in three different chairs) is HERESY. The problem is that this notion of “One God” as three persons throws common sense right out of the window.

    The world needs a theology that makes sense. Otherwise, church doctrines will continue to generate atheists – not believers!

    For those of my readers who do not know what the terms “modalist” and “hypostases” means, here are some simple definitions. A modalist is someone who understands the divine trinity not as three persons but as three “modes” or operations of ONE God (which is what I favor).

    My understanding of the “hypostatic” union of divine and human natures in Jesus Christ was God’s unique strategy to be victorious over hell and its evil. Evil cannot attack an Infinite God in any real sense – there is no finite relationship between the two. Yet, it is only through the actual combat of God’s truth and good against evil and falsity that any real outcome can take place. How does such combat take place?

    Jehovah Himself came into the world through the medium of a human body. Having a finite human body God now provided a medium by which the hells could attack with all their hatred. God could now unify His human nature with His divine nature by opposing all the temptations of the flesh. This union was perfected through the Lord’s acts of humility and obeying the will of the Father (which was the Lord’s very soul). Each act of humility perfected the union between His human nature and His divine nature. The final test of humility was challenging the powerful human inclination to get off the cross and compel belief by a show of physical force.

    In this way the Lord made the Word flesh and became the Alpha and Omega, having all power over heaven and earth.

    The difficult topic of the trinity necessitates our gaining new information and revelation from the Lord God. These revelations represent the Lord’s Second Coming by which the intellectual obscurities of doctrine will be removed (this obscurity is symbolized by the Lord’s coming in the clouds – unless you are literally inclined to believe the Second Coming will only occur on an overcast day).

    Perhaps this widens the scope of our trinitarian discussion. Perhaps not.

    Spiritually yours.
    TheGodGuy

  77. irishanglican says:

    Hi ‘thegodguy’,

    First, we are not certainly going to solve this profound mystery! God simply cannot be defined, save in historical and biblical revelation. And theology simply helps this out.The Ecumenical Councils only “frence” the great doctrine of God from error and heterodoxy. But this is an important “only”! And it needs to be noted quickly, that the essence of being heterodox, is simply having mere “opinion” verses the history of both “spirit and truth” in ‘the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church.’ This would also include the biblical and theological reality as said.

    Here is the the best Collect and Prayer for the Trinitarian doctrine of God in my own Anglican tradition:

    Almighty and everlasting God, which hast given unto us thy servants grace by the confession of a true faith to acknowledge the ‘glory of the eternal trinity, and the power of the divine majesty to worship the unity’; we beseech thee, that through the steadfastness of this faith, we may ever more be defended from all adverity, which livest and reignest, one God, world without end. – Amen!

    The prayer captures the concept within two infinitives: “to acknowledge the glory of the eternal trinity” and “in the power of the divine majesty to worship the unity.” This is the idea and truth that God is One, which has always been taught within Judaism. But it is also the idea and truth that God has revealed Himself in the triune or trinity, itself/Himself a divine family. And thus the Triune God is an impenetrable fortress around us!

    As to the need to define theologically, words like: “hypostases” and “modalist”, this is always required in both a historical and revelatory faith, as is our Judeo-Christian Faith and Reality!

    And the Second Coming and whole “eschatological” truth in both Holy Scripture and the theological reality, are not defined in some form of simplist theories, etc. But always in the glory and person of Christ Jesus Himself! He is always the revealer of the Triune God! (St. John 14:6-7;16-17, etc. Chap. 15 & 16)

    In The Holy Trinity +++

    Fr. Robert

  78. thegodguy says:

    Dear Fr. Robert,

    To me, the history of “spirit and truth” as defined by bishops of the early church were the mere opinions of mortal men. Their decisions concerning the holy trinity made at the Council of Nicaea (in 325) was made under the watchful eye of the military emperor Constantine, who exiled the two opposing bishops who did not sign on to the creeds and canons of this “ecumenical” meeting. So, there was a strong political element to what you believe was a sacred event performed by the early fathers of Christianity.

    The Second Coming and its “eschatological” and “ontological” truth was not defined by Swedenborg in the form of a simplist theory. God’s Holy Word is a multi-dimensional document, otherwise Infinite wisdom could not be contained within its 1000+ pages.

    Swedenborg learned from the Lord the deeper, spiritual meanings that lie concealed within the literal interpretations of its narratives. These deeper meanings allow human reasoning to enter into the mysteries of faith. It is the Lord God who wishes to make Himself more knowable (and less mysterious to human comprehension).

    Without the knowledge of Scripture’s multi-layered architecture, religion and its doctrines provide no further insights into God’s unlimited truths and therefore, over time, suffers from entropy. Furthermore, Orthodox Christianity does not provide us with an adequate theology to respond to the New Physics. My blog, and my next book, are mainly concerned with unifying science and theology. John 1:1-3 attests to the fact that everything in the manifest universe was created from the Word.

    The literal interpretations of Scripture fail at proving that very point!

    Spiritually yours,
    TheGodGuy

  79. irishanglican says:

    Edward,

    We have been over this ground before. I don’t see the need to repeat it, with more verbiage. The issue is really one of both biblical hermeneutics and history. I am something of an historical theologian. And I also place my authority to some degree in the historic Church of God, both East & West. You it appears do not! You are in reality following just one man…Swedenborg!

    From what I have been able to read and understand historically about him, is not all good. It seems he really wanted the desire to be known, and make his name and ideas known. And as Chrysostom said: “The desire to rule is the mother of all heresies.” This is not an ad hom attack, but really an historical approach. And with this, he does not fare well.

    Having said that, we can talk about his ideas and see if they can stand the test of both doctrine and theology? But again, the measure is not some layers in the Scripture Text, (and the violence to the litreal approach, etc.) but both the textual history and the theology therein. This is my hermeneutic and approach. But you see, yours are much different! So, we are left back where we left off. So the “entropy” or disorder etc. is really in your mind, and not the Orthodox, or any other historical Church, etc. And this is simply a grave error of your Swedenborg’in use.

    Sincerely In Christ,
    Fr. Robert

  80. thegodguy says:

    Dear Fr, Robert,

    You are correct. We are back where we left off. I am glad you are willing to talk about Swedenborg’s ideas and see if they can stand the test of both doctrine and theology. Let me propose a way to test Swedenborg’s multi-leveled ideas of exegesis in my next response.

    But for now, let me leave you with a statement by Paul to the Corinthians concerning the literal sense of Scripture. Paul states, “The letter kills, but the spirit gives life.” Swedenborg maintained that the words of Scripture had SPIRITUAL meanings, which gave life to the sense of the letter.

    While you say that I do not place authority to the historic church, you do not feel it is necessary to believe that we have to account for how God’s Infinite Wisdom can be contained in a finite Book. To show how such inexhaustible truth resides within the Holy Word is a better proof of its authority and sanctity then having faith in some historical tradition.

    Also, in terms of Swedenborg seeking fame and desiring to rule, I would just like to point out that for many years he published his theology books anonymously.

    I trust you can think on your own – and not derive your judgment of Swedenborg from what others have written.

    Spiritually yours,
    TheGodGuy

  81. irishanglican says:

    Dear Edward,

    Of course our disagreements are not personal, or toward each other. I am very convinced that the grace of God in Christ is much broader than any of us can realize! However, to be true to both God’s Judeo-Christian history, and God’s Trinitarian divine essence (ousia), it is a priviledge in discipleship to stand and speak, and seek God’s revelation in Christ!

    As to Swedenborg, he was simply devoted to “his” visions! One author said the reason that earlier he did not reveal his name, was his lack of full conviction? I can only read and report the writer.

    From my own research, I can say that Emanuel although he denied the Trinity, and vicarious Atonement, he did uphold some kind of doctrine of heaven and hell. Also Jesus Christ was the manifestation of the eternal, invisible God. And of course he held to a literal Second Coming, and the establishment of a New Jerusalem. But on the mystic side, he envisaged a spiritual world in which the living and the dead constituted one single being. I find this by itself, to be very interesting for Christian Mysticism, but not outside the spiritual idea. I would not allow the necromancy, as does the Jewish scripture teach not to.

    But having said all that, his main works of ‘Heavenly Secrets’ (8 vol.), are mainly just his own devotion to his dreams (visions), and their interpretation.

    Have I spoken correctly say you?

    I will wait and write later as to Scripture interpretation and exegesis, concerning.

    Fr. Robert

  82. thegodguy says:

    Dear Fr, Robert,

    Yes, I consider you a spiritual brother. All doctrine must ultimately lead to loving God and the neighbor. Our discussion is an exchange of the things we are most passionate about. Love is sharing.

    However, there are areas of human thought and questioning that you believe the mind should not even enter. My readers want better ideas and concepts – not traditional ideas. My readers want explanations – not academic vocabulary. Where does “necromancy” fit into this discussion?

    Swedenborg was a scientist, not a sorcerer or conjurer. He was the first scientist (even before Kant) to suggest that stars formed clusters or galaxies and that these galaxies exist throughout space. He is also considered the father of neuron theory. He believed that visions were the operation of “higher mind” rather than pathological delusions.

    No theologian would suggest that the visions of the Prophets were the result of a pathological condition or sorcery. Yet, what insights can an Orthodox interpretation of, lets say, Ezekiel’s strange visions be given to my readers?

    Swedenborg’s exegesis not only offers deeper interpretations of visions portrayed in Scripture but these deeper interpretations reveal actual doctrine and a coherent, systematic theology!

    The big issue that needs to be addressed is whether the Holy Word contains deeper levels of meaning or just one literal level. You say that such an interpretation does violence to the literal approach. But actually, it is the literal sense of the letter that promotes violence. Many people have left the church because they cannot reconcile a GOD OF LOVE with anger and warfare.

    The idea that God gets “pissed off” does violence to doctrine and theology. God’s apparent anger disappears when seen from a higher, and purely spiritual interpretation. A literal interpretation only gives us corporeal/sensual results.

    Also, a multi-leveled structure within the Holy Word provides a theology adequate enough to interface with science. Cutting-edge physicists are developing theories that the universe is layered and multi-dimensional. If all things in the universe were created from the Word then the Word must somehow contain these same patterning principles.

    God did not author the world one way, and author His Holy Word another. Inconsistency is imperfection.

    Spiritually yours,
    TheGodGuy

  83. irishanglican says:

    Dear Edward,

    You have not addressed “my” position ever in our discussion! You have just rejected it without much comment. So I will first try and make my case for my own position.

    As I have said, the whole Judeo-Christian revelation is based on the historical. Not that history is ever perfect, but it is certainly where we human beings live and cohabitant. But when we look at the Holy Scripture, we must look at it where “it” begins, i.e. history, but history of a much different kind. This would be called in theology (the study of God), as Salvation-History! See, Gen. 3:15. Even here we find the first reference to what is central to the Judeo-Christian revelation, and the center of the Salvation History: The Cross and Death of Jesus Christ! From here we can see the method also: the Incarnation of Christ Jesus! (Heb. 2:14-15 / Rev.20:10) The destruction of evil is real and most important, and also historical – Calvary! See, also (Col.2:15) * Just a side note here, I have never heard you quote or really make reference to Holy Scripture? Again, my point to it’s divine value and authority, etc.

    Also from here we must go into some idea of the whole “Historie” (Germen) And Geschichte (Germen) or historiography. In theology, Geschichte, another German word which also must be translated into English as “history” but which refers to the “significance” of a historical fact and so cannot be made public or verifiable by historical canons. The distinction is required because the one English word “history” obscures the two meanings: the fact and significance. In this way, a theologian may say that God’s action in Jesus Christ is historcial (in Geschichte) without being historical (in history), in the sense of being publicaly verifiable by the methods of secular historiography. That there was a man named Jesus is history; that He was the Revelation of God is Geschichte. Without such a distinction, a theologian would be forced to say either that God’s act is not historical (because what is historical may be the object of historical research) or that it is historical but not open to inspection. Also from here we have been pressed into new areas of Christian Anthropology, i.e. historicity of human existence, existentialism, etc.

    Now as to the devalue of the historical and so-called literal hermeneutic. This would be a great blunder, as we can see in the whole history of biblical interpretation. It was somewhat the Reformation that brought back the true historical, and need to see and at least start with the literal text. See also Augustine here. His search to understand the biblical text was also normative for our own, both Catholic and Reformed, etc.

    Well, I cannot write a thesis paper here, but the whole reality of the biblical and theological in our Judeo-Christian history must be honored. And this has also been center in my statements here.

    Finally, to bring in science and the physicists here (my father was one). Only robs us of allowing the most important aspect, that you call mere “vocabulary”, THE TEXT ITSELF! This is simply a huge loss and blunder again! The only doctrine of God that we can ever find is within the biblical text itself (St. John 1:1), the Logos of God, both before and after incarnation!

    Sincerely yours, In Christ,
    Father Robert

  84. thegodguy says:

    Dear Father Robert,

    With all due respect, your memory is fading. Just a few posts ago I quoted Paul in his letter to the Corinthians that “The letter kills, but the spirit gives life.” This is a direct challenge to a simple literal interpretation of Scripture. In previous posts we have discussed the Lord’s parables (which have double meanings). Also, you have admitted that we cannot interpret the scenario in Revelation whereby the Great Red Dragon with seven heads and threatening a pregnant woman who is standing on the moon as a literal event.

    Yes, events in Scripture, like the Lord’s Advent, are historical. But even within the historical account the Holy Word contains deeper meanings. For instance, the story where Joseph and Mary find no place to stay at the Inn, represents SPIRITUALLY, that there is no room for the Lord to be born in our hearts when we are busy with our worldly affairs. So Mary and Joseph had to move out of the city to a more remote place – just as we must remove ourselves from the hustle and bustle of worldly concerns to make a quiet place in our hearts for the Lord to enter our lives and grow in His influence. The literal sense of the story of the Inn merely portrays physical hardship – while the spiritual meaning ties directly to theology, doctrine, and salvation!

    On the road to Emmaus, the Lord instructs his disciples about Scripture – and pointed out to them how Moses and the Prophets actually concerned things about HIMSELF! How can a literal interpretation of Moses and the Prophets tell us anything about the Lord – unless its words contained a higher level of meaning that was Christocentric?

    You don’t have to agree, but I am bewildered that you think that I never make any real reference to Holy Scripture.

    Spiritually yours,
    TheGodGuy

  85. irishanglican says:

    Edward,

    My meaning was more from the standpoint of doing exegesis, then mere proof texting from Scripture. Any one can add a text of Scripture. And any one can take it out of context. Indeed exegesis this is a real work! Even the Monastic Bible Study is literal or historical, doctrinal. This follows the Fathers, and Medieval readers and thinkers. For these as St. Benedict, the Bible or Holy Writ has several layers of meaning. And here, we find the whole history of the Church and the Mystical Body. But we simply cannot violate the literal meaning of Scripture! Yes, there are more meanings in the Scripture text, but we can never simply set aside the historical and literal. To quote E. W. Bullinger: “All the confusion of thought and conflicting exegesis have arisen from taking literally what is expressed by Figures, or from taking figuratively what is literal. A Figure of speech is never used except for the purpose of calling attention to, emphasising, and intensifying, “the reality of the literal sense.”

    Fr. Robert

  86. irishanglican says:

    Ed,
    If I may call you? Let me recommend an older, but I think very good book and work on the Book and Text of Revelation: The Revelation of St. John The Divine, by Austin Farrer (Oxford University Press, 1964). Also his earlier work in the Revelation of St. John, under the title “A Rebirth of Images” by the same is quite worthy.

    We must do our homework, we cannot all have great vision or dreams like Swedenborg. In fact, how can we trust the words and work of Emanuel Swedenborg? Only by both the Holy Scripture, and the Church of God…”in spirit and truth”!

    Fr. Robert

  87. lostandfound says:

    Dear irishanglican,

    On that day when every knee bows, and every tongue confesses that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father:

    Do you believe we will bow down to the Son of God (the 2nd part of the trinity) and confess His name? Or do you believe we will bow down to God Himself, Who’s name is Jesus?

    In other words, will we bow down to one OF three? Or will we bow down to three IN one?

  88. thegodguy says:

    Dear Fr. Robert,

    I may look into your reading recommendations. But why are there so many Christian denominations when they all base their theology and doctrines from Holy Scripture? The reason is that the literal interpretation of the Holy Word can be used to back up anyone’s position.

    Scripture is less open to subjective interpretation when deeper meanings are brought into the equation. The reason is that these deeper meanings are not arbitrary. Each word used in Holy Scripture must have its counterpart or equivalent in a precise spiritual QUALITY. Once a higher, spiritual meaning has been established, it must hold true everywhere the literal term is used throughout Scripture. I trust Swedenborg because his “higher meanings” hold up throughout the various narratives of Scripture. This kind of consistency cannot be the result of guesswork, or even the result of any human cognitive function.

    Swedenborg said that he received these revelations from the Lord alone. My trust in Swedenborg comes from homework – 35 years of careful study of his writings. If I were to embrace a mere literal grasp of the Holy Word I would have to lower my expectations of how God communicates – that God wishes to give us a correct account of linear history rather than a multi-leveled document which contains infinite wisdom.

    Spiritually yours,
    TheGodGuy

  89. thegodguy says:

    Dear lostandfound,

    Welcome back! My thinking is more similar to yours. In an earlier response (somewhere above) of this discussion I brought up the big problem of seeing God as three Persons – which God does one approach and have relationship with? Religion is “walking with God.” Does this mean we walk with a gaggle of Gods?

    If we turn to Scripture for help we read that Jesus states that the only way to approach the Father is through Him. But when we ask Jesus how to pray He does a complete “one-eighty” and informs us that we must bypass Him and pray directly to the Father in heaven (the Lord’s Prayer).

    There is much more going on in Scripture than meets the eye. The future of the Lord’s church on earth will depend on its ability to show the next generation of seekers and believers the true spiritual depth of the Sacred Word.

    Spiritually yours,
    TheGodGuy

  90. irishanglican says:

    lostandfound,

    I think I have addressed this question somewhat, in my statement per Scripture, that only Christ is “the Image” of the invisible God! (Col.1:15) And as Christ Himself said, “Have I been so long with you, and have you not come to know Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father; how can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? (St. John 14:9)

    Something that is also often forgotten if not understood, is that Christ is even now still the “Incarnate” Son of God on the Father’s throne (Heb.9:24), which is always the Throne of God (Heb. 1:8), and also Christ’s. I don’t have time to fully exegete these verses, but in the context it should be obvious.

    To quote C.S. Lewis that Christ’s Manhood is now forever the “image” of God incarnate:

    “We also, in our heart of hearts, lend to slur over the risen “manhood” of Jesus, to conceive HIM, after death, simply returning into Deity, so that the Resurrection would be no more than a reversal or undoing of the Incarnation.”

    Yes, Christ Jesus is the only “Incarnation” of God – now forever! And if you look closely at Phil. 2:6-11, the issue is quite resolved. The purpose of Christ’s exaltation always refers back to “the glory of God the Father.” And since the Father is the regal of the Godhead, this is always a Trinitarian reality!

    Fr. Robert

  91. irishanglican says:

    I can see here that hardly anyone has looked at the Trinitarian doctrine of God in the Eastern Orthodox Church. Here is truth, beauty and history combined! I have made statement to their doctrine of God triune and Trinity here.

    Ed, once again we have come full circle! You appear to me at least to lack historical knowledge for many High Church (Catholic / Orthodox) positions, i.e. the history of the Church, Councils, Trinity, Biblical hermenutics etc. And thus your arguments are at best ad hoc – for “your” specific purpose. This is not a full search for truth to my mind!

    But always interesting.

    Best to all, “your” readers as you say.

    Fr. Robert

  92. thegodguy says:

    Dear Irishanglican,

    Thank you for at least finding my blog interesting. You cannot bore people into finding truth. Furthermore, I respect everyone’s approach to God, church, and the ultimate reality. However, we need to be challenged and work our brain muscles once in awhile.

    Please recall that I attended seminary. While I have not studied the historical positions of the Catholic/Orthodox Church as much as you, I did make myself familiar with Trinitarian doctrine (and was born into the Catholic faith). You seem to feel that having historical knowledge will somehow “magically” change my position.

    The history of the church shows a progression of belief-systems, one after the other. Why would one assume that humans are moving closer to God’s truth based on mere progression? I weigh an idea or doctrine based on its explanatory potency – not on how it fits into a historical scheme or in the measurement of its mystery.

    As I mentioned in an earlier post, I have familiarized myself with your faith tradition more than you have with mine. How is my search less full than yours? Besides, I study scripture every day as you do.

    God exercises maximum efficiency. Why would God waste time talking about a great flood or any other event if it were not instantly relevant to my personal salvation? What if Noah’s Ark represents something more deeply personal – that ONLY God’s tenets provide for the proper construction of a vehicle by which we can stay afloat when “inundated” by worldly troubles (troubled waters)? Religion gives us the “buoyancy” to keep our heads above water.

    I find it much more interesting that the story of Noah can take place RIGHT NOW – within one’s spiritual reality. Is not Noah’s Ark a wonderful way to depict how God brings our SOUL to safety (as opposed to our physical bodies which rot anyway)?

    Biblical hermeneutics that do not employ these deeper, spiritual principles, fall far short of providing me with the level of mental exercise my brain needs.

    Spiritually yours,
    TheGodGuy

  93. irishanglican says:

    thegodguy,

    Ed, I do find interest in honest biblical and spiritual inquiry. And I see that in you from my mind at least. However, we would differ on many areas besides the Trinity, Atonement, Holy Scripture, etc.

    One place that I feel we would really be in contrast, is in the nature of sin and man’s, or humanities brokenness and complete falleness. Man is a sinner! And he has lost God, and without God’s spiritual help and renewal he cannot move back to God. Theologically this places me back toward a kind of Neo-Reformed position, or as some believe a Pauline doctrine of sin. (Rom.7) Indeed one’s view of sin affects their whole theology and even doctrine of God! And this would be just one of the problems I would have with Swedenborg. But a major one!

    And as to biblical hermeneutics, the historic and grammatical does not at all negate the spiritual sense of the scripture. As to my quote of E.W. Bullinger. His book on the Figures of Speech In The Bible, is still very profound! Those people that think they can read and understand scripture, and go into so-called ‘deeper levels’, can only go so as the text allows. The area of Mystical Theology is almost nill in many Christian Churches. And so misused in other Churches! Sad, for it has its own proper history in both the Church in the East and West.

    Finally, just what is your spiritual “measurement” or “mystery”, i.e. biblical hermeneutic?

    Fr. Robert

  94. thegodguy says:

    Dear Fr. Robert,

    Swedenborg agrees with you more than you think. Especially that man is a sinner. See my post entitled “Why Even Great Leaders Fall Into Scandal.”

    Swedenborg also believes, like you, that the literal sense of Scripture does not negate the spiritual sense, In fact, he is adamant that we verify the spiritual sense through its literal sense. The literal sense offers support for the higher sense, like a foundation supports a house. When Swedenborg describes higher meanings he will then support them with references from scripture that provide the literal context by which one can make his or her own judgment of these things. The literal sense does not always have to be historically correct to support higher meanings (this is where you and Swedenborg probably differ).

    I do not understand your last question. “Mystery” is intellectual obscurity. The Lord’s coming in the clouds as foretold in Revelation is the dispersal of this obscurity. According to Swedenborg, the higher meanings of Scripture are precisely what the Lord’s Revelation consists of. The Second Coming is NOW! It must take place WITHIN US!

    Spiritually yours,
    TheGodGuy

  95. irishanglican says:

    thegodguy,

    Your second paragraph is nearly aligned to my own position. I would even agree with the last sentence.

    I am not really surprised that Swendenborg is closer to St. Paul’s position of sin. When he lived life was much harsher than our own, our modernism (so-called) obscures much of the sub-surface of this human plight. But suffering, and death and dying level this reality. “For the wages of sin is death..” (St. Paul, Rom.6:23) And of course the first “level” is human death and dying because of sin. There is also the reality, of the “second death” (Rev.2:17; 20:6,14).

    I see “Mystery” in positive light, as part of God’s trancendent being! And only God triune, and Christ “the image” of God can remove the “obscurity” of sin, suffering and death! (SEE Rev. 1:17-18…a wonderful Text!)

    Finally, as a parcel-Preterist, I have no problem with the great truth that when Christ does come, death and or the literal Second Coming of Christ will be fullfilled in us who truly believe in who HE Is! (2 Peter 1:19 / 2 Thes. 1:10).

    Sincerely In Christ,
    Fr. Robert

  96. thegodguy says:

    Dear Fr. Robert,

    Even the disciples were not at first sure who Jesus was, especially concerning the WORD. We learn from Holy Scripture that the Word was God (John 1:1) and that by the Lord’s Advent and life on earth the Word “was made flesh and dwelt among us” (John 1:14). Swedenborg had some interesting insights about this. He maintained that to behold the Lord’s glory “as the of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth” is to see how the details of Lord’s life is wonderfully described in Genesis, Exodus, and other stories of the Old Testament as well as by the New Testament.

    While this is usually explained by the Lord’s fulfilling of prophecy it doesn’t go far enough to explain how the Lord turned, lets say, the story of Noah’s Ark into flesh. Swedenborg maintained that only the highest level of meaning in Scripture could communicate such hidden inner truths and make such theological connections.

    If all things were from the Word of God (which is Divine Truth) then it is the Word itself and its infinite truth that is the “begotten” of the Father. Swedenborg stated that the “Son” refers to God’s DIVINE TRUTH. Scripture makes no distinction between God and the Word. The only distinction, therefore, between Father and Son is like that between “divine essence” and “divine form”. Truth is the only begotten, that is, the only form derived from God’s essence, which is divine Love. The Son is the Father’s Love given expression through form.

    The only way the Holy Word or divine truth could dwell among humans is if the Father intervened on human history by secretly playing out all the scenarios described by the biblical narratives. This process by which the word becomes flesh (which is another way of saying God’s truth took living form) and also the means by which the Lord God becomes the alpha and omega is only revealed through the higher meanings of Sacred Scripture. In this way the Lord’s full glory is seen from the Holy Word itself – which contains in its layers of meaning all things concerning the Father’s heavenly form and expression.

    These things are difficult to express in a few short paragraphs but I felt compelled to say something more concerning Swedenborg’s viewpoint that the Father and Son are not distinct persons.

    Spiritually yours,
    TheGodGuy

  97. irishanglican says:

    thegodguy

    Ed, here is where we part company! Though the doctrine of the Trinity was a development to “our” understanding, it has in reality…as the great Eastern Orthodox Father Serguis Bulgakov stated: “The dogma of consubstantiality, which safeguards the unity of the Holy Trinity, thus remains a sealed book so as far as we are concerned – for in a religious sense it has neither assimilated nor unfolded.” Thus as Orthodoxy teaches there is always a distinction between God’s eternal essence which is totally transcendent, and His “uncreated energies” which is how He reaches us. But the God who is transcendent and the God who touches us are one and the same!

    The only way that God the Father is ever seen or understood, is through His eternal Son! This is as I have said, what our Lord Himself stated thoughout the Gospel of St. John ( 1:14;18…14:6, etc.). As the text of John 1:18 indicates: ” the only begotten God (Mss) who is in the bosom of the Father.” – He has made Him known (expained HIM)! * This is where we get theologically the term, “exegesis”, “to interpret”. Jesus alone interprets, explains and IS the full and only revelation of God! Also this term denotes mutual intimacy, love and knowledge between the Father and the Son, which is an eternal and everlasting bond and reality! This is one of the premier Johannine revelations!

    “The elder to the chosen lady and her children (the Church and her Body), whom I love in truth, and not only I but all who know the truth, for the sake of the truth which abides in us and will be with us forever. Grace, mercy and peace will be with us, from God the Father and from Jesus Christ, the Son of the Father, in truth and love.” (2 John 1-3)

    The whole Trinitarian relationship of God lives also in the truth and love of the Body Life of the Church of God! Each member living in this truth and peace, that is the product of God’s grace and mercy…full! This great truth of God triune is the center also of His “unity”!

    Therefore, to miss the “Persons” of the Godhead: The Father, the regal of the Godhead, the Son..the eternal generation of the Father, and the Holy Spirit who proceeds eternally from the Father alone. The Holy Trinity of God! The Churches love and eternal dwelling forever: “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.” (Matt.5:8) To miss this, is to miss the very best of God: Father, Son, Holy Spirit!

    Yours in the Holy Trinity of God, +++
    Fr. Robert

  98. thegodguy says:

    Dear Fr. Robert,

    Using words like “consubstantiality” is an academic tactic to try to recover the idea of One God after the Church had split God up into three persons. Saying that all three God’s consist of the same “substance” solves nothing because when you split God into three, you split substance into three as well.

    Three eggs consist of the same inner substance but they are still three different eggs (unless you believe they are somehow mystically united by their yolks and albumin).

    Yes, Swedenborg agrees with you that the only way that God the Father is ever seen and understood is through the Son. But it is TRUTH that makes God’s qualities seen and understood. The Son represents divine TRUTH. What is more intimate than love and its begotten truth?

    Your “sealed book” is merely a closing of the mind. The world is showing signs of an increased interest in Bible study, but many people are seeking new ways to tap into more of its gold. The Orthodox tradition of exegesis brings nothing new to the discussion. The Lord said he would make all things new – this includes biblical exegesis!

    Yes, Jesus alone interprets. His “coming with the clouds” is all about exegesis. The Second Coming is the coming of a newer, and deeper interpretation of the Holy Word by the Lord God, the one and true God. As I mentioned early in our discussion, I am not looking out of my window each night to see if a pregnant woman is standing on the moon while being threatened by a seven-headed dragon. Nor am I anxious on overcast days fearing that the “end times” have arrived. These striking images described in Revelation have deep sacred signification. The Orthodox church is ill-equipped to offer the world any new insights into these matters.

    Swedenborg learned of all these wonderful things from the Lord alone. You can recoil from such a notion but you cannot prove him wrong without studying his MASSIVE works on biblical interpretation! It is impossible for a mortal mind to uncover deeper, COHERENT, stories in Scripture without help from the Lord. And certainly, these things could not be uncovered unless they are really there to be uncovered. All the inner levels of meaning within Scripture make real theological sense and verify God’s divine love and wisdom.

    The Holy Word does not just talk about God, the Holy Word IS God! How would you respond to such a statement?

    Spiritually yours,
    TheGodGuy

  99. irishanglican says:

    Ed,

    We have had a personal death in my wife’s family. I might be off line for awhile.

    Sincerely In Christ,
    Fr. Robert

  100. thegodguy says:

    Dear Fr. Robert,

    My heart goes out for you and your family. (I left out a detail of the death since it is a private matter.) Please give my regards to your wife.

    You have earned a special place on this blog and always will. Even in our disagreements I feel we have created a bond of sincere Christian friendship. And I feel closer to you than ever in your family’s time of grief.

    God bless,
    Ed

  101. Glenn Schoen says:

    Well that was quite a read. Interesting, enjoyable and informative. And good for a few laughs as well (laughs of delight, and not of derision, disdain or contempt).

    AussieMan posed a question–a wonderful, excellent question, one quite germane to the concerns of more than a few. Regarding this question, Swedenborg had something to say about its basis, and what he had to say would have been, I believe, pleasing to irishanglican.

    AussieMan’s question: Can a child of God find their way by listening to the teachers of religion of the different Christian denominations; which happen to understand the same passages of scripture so differently as to destroy all confidence in settling the question by an appeal to the Bible?

    What ES had to say re the basis of the question (denominational differences and resultant confusion), which I believe would have been pleasing to irishanglican (underlined portions in particular): In the Christian world it is doctrinal matters that distinguish churches; and from them men call themselves Roman Catholics, Lutherans, and Calvinists, or the Reformed and the Evangelical, and by other names. It is from what is doctrinal alone that they are so called; which would never be if they would make love to the Lord and charity toward the neighbor the principal of faith. Doctrinal matters would then be only varieties of opinion concerning the mysteries of faith, which truly Christian men would leave to everyone to hold in accordance with his conscience, and would say in their hearts that a [person] is truly a Christian when he lives as a Christian, that is, as the Lord teaches.

    Near the end of the comments is one containing this from irishanglican: “[Eastern] Orthodoxy teaches there is always a distinction between God’s eternal essence which is totally transcendent, and His ‘uncreated energies’ which is how He reaches us. But the God who is transcendent and the God who touches us are one and the same!”

    Swedenborg would have beamed with approval at this.

    After all, it is God’s eternal essence which is totally transcendent (i.e., the Divine Itself; Jehovah; the Father) which reaches us through his ‘uncreated energies’ (i.e., “Divine Love and Divine Wisdom proceeding from the Lord… are the Proceeding Divine, which is the Holy Spirit” and “This holy thing which proceeds from the Lord, and flows into man…, whether manifestly or not manifestly, is ‘the Holy Spirit'”).

    The “three persons” notion is seen by some familiar with Swedenborg as a ticket to hell.

    Quite frankly, I don’t get this. And I don’t believe I don’t get it because I might not be ‘well-versed’ in Swedenborg. On the contrary, I believe I don’t get it precisely because of my familiarity with Swedenborg.

    Yes, ES did have strong things to say regarding the Trinity of Persons, each of whom singly is God. For example, he said that it has given rise “to many discordant and heterogeneous ideas… which are phantasies and abortions”, and he noted that both its Nicene and Athanasian expressions are that “by which the whole Christian church has been perverted”. Strong words indeed.

    Yet, in explaining how and why the Trinity of Persons came to be (it was an attempt to refute and banish the heretical views of Arius), he also says that, “if the Trinity of Persons had not been accepted, they would have become either Arians or Socinians, and consequently the Lord would have been acknowledged as a mere man and not as God; and by this the Christian church would have been destroyed, and heaven would have been closed to the man of the church[.]”

    So, bad as it was, things would have been worse were it not.

    And bad as it may be, ES nonetheless relies upon and refers to the Three-Person creed of Athanasius in a favorable manner (see, e.g., AC 4721.3, AC 10125.3, AC 10824, TCR 98, TCR 101, TCR 110.3, TCR 111.7, TCR 112.4, TCR 137.10, TCR 188.5-6, and TCR 798.7)

    Things don’t always happen in an instance, but sometimes incrementally. And so there is no need for doing away with the Athanasian Creed. Indeed, there is not even a need for changing any of its wording, only one’s understanding of some of the wording — as ES himself explains: It was from the Divine providence that each and every thing of the Athanasian doctrine respecting the Trinity and respecting the Lord is a truth and is harmonious, when in place of three Persons one Person in whom is the Trinity is understood, and it is believed that the Lord is that Person.

    Although ES makes clear that a right conception of God is a necessary condition for being in heaven, he also makes clear that those who have been in spiritual good in the world (and of these may be those who do not know or haven’t heard of the Lord), in the other life remain in good, have their false ideas replaced with true ideas, and subsequently are at home in heaven.

  102. thegodguy says:

    Dear Glenn,

    I am glad you found this discussion informative and enjoyable. Thanks for contributing!

    Spiritually yours,
    TheGodGuy

  103. BobVining says:

    Very interesting discussion. I am a fairly new believer due mostly to Swedenborg’s writings so I come down on the 1 God side. However I agree with almost everything GlennSchoen says. The whole question doesn’t seem to have the that Swedenborg claims. As long as you believe in God and repent of your sins you are on the road to Heaven even if you don’t believe in Jesus Christ, if I read Swedenborg correctly.
    I have been looking for a Church in the Boise, Idaho area to attend because there are no Swedenborgian Churches here. After trying a few I started attending a Quaker silent meeting. I have really felt the spirit’s presence, even though this is not a Christ centered group. They are really helping me with my regeneration. I am starting to feel really at home there. It makes me start to question how important water baptism, the Lord’s Supper, even belief in Jesus Christ really is!

  104. thegodguy says:

    Dear BobVining,

    Where there is sincere love there is a real church!

    My discussion focuses on the “correctness” of a belief-system and not on the quality of a person’s heart and spirit. I believe all the participants of this discussion were good men with good spiritual hearts.

    A person can have a flawed doctrinal belief yet still live a heaven-bound life!

    However, a flawed belief can lead to real errors which can become an obstacle to further spiritual growth. For instance, individuals who have a rigid understanding of the Trinitarian doctrine of three Gods (as opposed to one God) tend (according to Swedenborg) to ignore the practice of introspection because “faith saves” – not one’s personal efforts.

    Swedenborg makes it clear that we are to COOPERATE with God and not just wait for God’s saving grace to intervene because we have strong “faith.”

    My new book “Proving God” provides details for spiritual growth that cannot be covered in a mere blog post.

    Thanks for the comment!

    Spiritually yours,
    TheGodGuy

  105. Domenic says:

    God has many attributes, but love is not one of them, love is the very essence of his being… this comment is based on what you said,God’s three attributes are Divine Love (the Father) Divine Truth or Love made visible (the Son) and the Divine Proceeding (the Holy Spirit).

    • thegodguy says:

      Love is certainly apart of the Lord God’s triune nature – without the other two, Divine Truth and Divine Activity, God’s living essence is just a potential. Sounds like you are splitting hairs.

      (Did you read through all 100 comments?)

      Spiritually yours,
      TheGodGuy

  106. Domenic says:

    to me there is no other two, when love is the very essence of his being, they are all one, the other two only repersent the essence of his being which is love.

    • thegodguy says:

      You are screwing up the order of our communications. And you are still splitting hairs. Love needs two further elements to become formalized – “Truth” is the manner in which love gets form and that form is “usefulness.” You cannot have love without the other two. Furthermore, love unites but truth distinguishes. Otherwise there would be no unity through diversity. The diversity is just as “real” as the unity.

      Spiritually yours,
      TheGodGuy

      (By the way, I am a busy publisher and author. Your patience would be appreciated when it comes to my addressing your comments. Also, If you go “off topic” I will not feel compelled to reply.)

  107. Domenic says:

    i think attribute is not the right word to use, when swedenborg said, father, son, and holy spirit, are the three essentials of the one God, you could say God is kind, sincere, humble, these are characteristics, thats what i think when your dealing with spiritual love, not natural love.

    • thegodguy says:

      Again, you are not paying attention to the order and sequence of this discussion. As a result, your original statement follows your latest statement. (See below.)

      However, I am impressed with your command of the English language. The word “essential” may be better than “attribute” but they both can be used to describe qualities, that is, inherent characteristics. God is Infinitely Human whereas the term “love” can become confused with a vague cosmic force in the universe.

      TheGodGuy

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