In Mystical Christianity we worship the Trinity of God, the God of Genesis in the Christian Bible.
According to Christian Dogma, Christianity’s two cardinal characteristics are the doctrines of the Trinity and of the Incarnation. These two codes of belief applaud and compliment each other and form the final clarification of the world, the purpose of man in it, and of all eschatology.
The “Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church” defines the Doctrine of the Trinity as: “The central dogma of Christian Theology, viz. that the One God exists in Three Persons and One Substance. This doctrine is held to be a mystery in the strict sense, in that it can neither be known by un-aided human reason apart from revelation, nor clearly demonstrated by reason after it has been revealed. On the other hand, it is maintained that, though the mystery is above reason, it is not contrary to it, for it is not incompatible with the principles of rational thought”. Theophilus of Antioch (c. A.D. 180) was the first to use the word in its Greek form. The word Trinity is not found in Scripture, but the implicit and explicit conception of the word is there, as seen in the Old Testament texts “as the narrative of the apparition of the three men to Abraham in Genesis 18, and the frequent mention of God, His Wisdom, and His Spirit, side by side in the Sapietial Books”. It is further held to be explicitly taught in some passages in the New Testament, for instance the baptismal formula of Matthew 28:19 “.....baptize them in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit......”
The Doctrine of the Trinity journeyed through long centuries, and the New Testament teachings were taken over by the early Church and set out in creeds, in expressions of the rule of faith, and in doxologies until the Three Divine Persons were finally affirmed.
In her admired view of the Trinity, St. Theresa says: “By some mysterious manifestation of the truth, the three Persons of the most Blessed Trinity reveal themselves, preceded by an illumination which shines on the spirit like a most dazzling cloud of light. The three Persons are distinct from one another, a sublime knowledge is infused into the soul, imbuing it with a certainty of the truth that the Three are of one substance, power and knowledge, and are of God......... All the Three Persons here communicate Themselves to the soul, speak to it, and make it understand the words of our Lord in the Gospel, that He and the Father and the Holy Ghost will come and make their abode with the soul which loves Him and keeps His commandments”.
To write about the Trinity and not quote Julian of Norwich would be a blunder. This acutely human English woman and mystic, whom someone once said should be called “the poet of the Trinity”, tells of how she saw the Trinity of Divine Nature in the world of the senses as well as in the spiritual world. “He showed me a little thing, the quantity of a hazel nut, in the palm of my hand; and it was as round as a ball. I looked thereupon with the eye of my understanding, and thought what may this be? And it was answered generally this: It is all that is made... In this Little Thing I saw three properties. The first is that God made it, the second is that God loveth it, the third is that God keepeth it. But what is to me verily: the Maker, the Keeper and the Lover, I cannot tell”.
St. Augustine wanted people to be aware of the three things within themselves – to Be, to Know, to Will. He proposed “For I am, and I know, and I will, I am knowing and willing, and I know myself to be and to will; and I will to be and to know. In these three therefore let him who can, see how inseparable a life there is – even one life, one mind, one essence: finally how inseparable is the distinction, and yet a distinction. Surely a man hath it before him; let him look into himself and see and tell me. But when he discovers and can see anything of these, let him not think that he has discovered that which is above these Unchangeable: which is unchangeable and Knows unchangeably and Wills unchangeably”.
The Latin theologian Tertullian was the first to use the term trinitas, as far back as the second century. This concept blossomed during a campaign of debates on the nature of Christ. The dogma was finally composed during the fourth century, using Christian terminology. It taught the co-equivalence of the persons of the Godhead. The differentiations among the persons of the Trinity must not be so accentuated that the individual becomes confused with a multitude of gods, or that these differentiations be digested as an undifferentiated monism. It is vital to have an adequate insight in the Trinitarian envisioning of God. Christianity has thus befriended itself with the dogma of the Trinity, Who is in nature absolutely One.
By the accessional dogma of the Incarnation, the mystical encounter was introduced to its most concrete and immanent experience. Not only is the Incarnation synonymous with the historical birth and earthly life of Christ, it also constructs an abiding personal conversion within the mystic. The soul is thus perpetually ascending and stretching up towards God where it reposes within the Trinity. Patmore, like most Christians, says that the greatest secret of all is “the doctrine of the Incarnation, regarded not as an historical event which occurred two thousand years ago, but as an event which is renewed in the body of every one who is in the way to the fulfillment of his original destiny”.
The Hindu is unfamiliar with the Trinity of God, but the God he believes in, reveals three faces to him – Brahma the creator, Shiva the destroyer and Krishna the repairer. These three he sees as One.
Neoplatonists too, distinguished three worlds – the Phenomenal, the Intellectual and the Spiritual. He acknowledges three aspects of God – the Unconditioned Absolute, the Logos and the Divine.
In his well-known “The book of supreme Truth”, Jan van Ruysbroeck sees the Trinity as Three Persons embraced in a Love and Contentment which stretches out to enfold all creation and its creatures. He says: “The Divine Persons are enfolded within the Unity in a mutual embrace in an eternal contentment, in abysmal active love....... this is perpetually renewed in the life-giving life of the Trinity; for here there takes place a new birth in new knowledge, new contentment and new out-breathing, in a new embrace with new torrents of Eternal Love. In this contentment all the chosen are enfolded: angels and men, from the first event to the last.......... In this embrace in the Unity, all things are consummated; and in the gushing forth of love, all things are wrought; and in the life-giving and fruitful Nature, rests the power of all things.
For in the life-giving and fruitful Nature, the Son is in the Father, and the Father in the Son, and the Holy Ghost in Both....... all creatures are therein, beyond themselves, one Being and one Life with God, as in their Eternal Origin. In the life-giving and fruitful Nature, the Father and the Son and all the beloved are enfolded and embraced in the bonds of love, that is, in the Unity of the Holy Ghost”.
FROM “THE ROAD TO DAMASCUS” – Nymph Kellerman
ABOUT the author:
Nymph completed her L.T.C.L. in music and drama, and obtained a B.A. Psychology and Philosophy a few years later. She trained as formal singer under various renowned vocal advisers and performed in numerous concerts, recitals, and oratorios. After a car accident that lead to a few neuro surgeries, she began investigating the benefits of deep relaxation and wrote a few books and numerous articles on the subject.
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