Another Spectrum

Personal ramblings and rants of a somewhat twisted mind

Lloyd Geering: on the trinity

10 Comments

There is an apocryphal yet instructive story of a famous theologian who had just delivered a lecture on the doctrine of the Holy Trinity. A student jumped to his feet to thank the professor, excitedly exclaiming that at last he felt he really understood the doctrine. His theological teacher surprised him by heaving a sigh of despair and saying: “If you understand it as clearly as that, then you have misunderstood it and I shall have to start all over again.”

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To speak today of God as three persons readily leads to a mental picture of a heavenly trio (a divine committee!), one which has even been portrayed visually in art. Such a view of God (and it is widespread in popular Christianity) deserves the condemnation which Muhammad heaped upon it. He called Christians polytheists, who had sadly regressed from the pure monotheism of Judaism which he himself felt called to reaffirm.

Lloyd Geering, February 28, 1987 issue of the New Zealand Listener

The full article from which the above quotes were taken can be read at Sir Lloyd Geering: Rethinking the trinity

Author: Barry

A post war baby boomer from Aotearoa New Zealand who has lived with migraines for as long as I can remember and was diagnosed as being autistic aged sixty. I blog because in real life I'm somewhat backwards about coming forward with my opinions.

10 thoughts on “Lloyd Geering: on the trinity

  1. He was right. Christians cannot escape from the charge of polytheism as long as they continue to insist the three are each god.

    • My own faith tradition doesn’t “do theology”, so arguments over the nature of God are irrelevant. Liberal Churches here, mostly hold a view similar to Lloyd Geering, but I think many conservatives would prefer to be martyred than deny the Trinity.

  2. God is three and God is one. God likes paradoxes- light is a wave and a particle.

    • Logic puts me squarely in the non-theist camp, but experientially I’m not. Now there’s a paradox!

      • I am rationally atheist and emotionally theist. I have a personal relationship with the God I do not believe in.

        • Very well put Clare. It makes perfect sense to me, even though as an Aspie, I’m supposedly systematically logical and incapable of making abstract emotional connections.

          Being married to a Japanese, and having a Māori son-in-law and grandchildren, and a Tahitian daighter-in-law, I have learnt to value and experience values and concepts embedded in multiple cultures. Whether one calls it religion, spirituality, or simply culture, doesn’t matter. On the one hand I recognise they are humanly created concepts, yet on the other hand, they feel, and in reality, modify one’s world view.

  3. It is very obvious in The Bible more than one god is depicted. They have spent centuries trying to prove otherwise, but right from genesis it’s obviously more than one—If any of it were true at all.

    • Perhaps. An alternative way of looking at it to see it as an evolution of God. In other words the perception of what God is has evolved over time, and in fact it still hasn’t stopped. For example, is the way I or Lloyd Geering perceive God, a radically new God or is it the result of many small evolutionary steps over several millennia?

  4. There is my physical body. There is my emotional being. There is also the rational image I have of myself. All three coexist (sometimes peaceably, sometimes not) within a single corporeal entity which occupies some minuscule part of the space-time continuum.

    If this sounds nonsensical, you are correct.

    • It probably made sense 2000 years ago when no one doubted the existence of spirits and the concept of an imortal soul separate from the physical body was growing. But that doesn’t justify clinging to a belief that conflicts with newer knowledge.

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