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Christianity: conceptions of God

For most Christians God is conceived of as Trinity: One God in three persons. Christian theologians and philosophers have spent life times trying to explain exactly what this does and does not mean.

The Trinity consists of God the Father, creator of all things; God the Son, Redeemer of the human soul and of all creation; and God the Holy Spirit, who indwells the human heart, leading each person to salvation. The theologians are careful to emphasize that there are three distinct persons, not three aspects or roles of a single personal God; yet all three are of the same one Being, one divine nature, one substance.

Though the Father is seen as creator, yet it is the Son who is the Word which created and the Spirit is the creative force which moved over the uncreated deep to bring forth creation. In the same way, tough the Son took human form to live among us, as one of us in historic time, to redeem our lost humanity, yet it is the Father who saves and the Spirit who transforms us. Though separate, yet they are never separated; the actions are all one, the intentions one, the motivations one, the heart and mind one.

The three cannot exist separately, because all are One, one essence, one nature; eternal, un-created, without beginning or end, in whom all things find their beginning and their end. Existing from eternity in a perfect harmony of love and communion, into which the human spirit is invited to enter and dwell eternally.

The early Church Fathers spoke about this single co-existence of three in One as an indwelling of all in each and of each in all. As Saint Hilary of Poiters said in his Concerning the Trinity (3:1), the three persons of the Trinity "reciprocally contain one another, so that one permanently envelopes and is permanently enveloped by, the other whom he yet envelopes".

Jesus is eternally God in human form; the Spirit is eternally the Spirit of Jesus and of the Father who comes to inhabit the human heart bringing us into the same communion of the infinitely loving heart of God. Jesus manifests for us the nature and reality that is God, to make it possible for us to return to our home in God through the indwelling Spirit. The Spirit lives within our spirits, thus extending the circle of abiding, we in God and God in us.

With the Spirit we have Jesus, whom we can know and who knows us, living always within. With Jesus we have the Father eternally present with us manifesting the eternal nature of God in human space and time.

The coinherence of the Three in One is a Unity into which the human spirit is intended to consciously participate. We have been created in the image of God, made to live in the eternal communion of reciprocally bestowing and receiving of love.

In Eastern Christianities the idea of the Trinity has been approached not so much as a logical puzzle to be comprehended correctly as it is an immense, wondrous, divine mystery which is to be meditated on with all the heart, mind, soul and strength, until the individual ego is washed away in an awakening of ever growing awareness of the living Presence of God.

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