This post continues the last post’s response to Anna-Marie, a follower from Estonia. She asked how rethinking our God-images works with an image of God as central as the Trinity. We continue…
When we reduce our quest for God to trying to understand God, we can’t help but limit our experience of God. While the infinite Divine cannot be contained in thought, we can deeply experience God. Experience… but not define.
If I walk outside on a windy day, hold an open box above my head, and then snap it shut… what I have inside the box is not the wind. Sure, elements of wind are in the box. There are oxygen and nitrogen molecules, there is movement… all aspects of wind. However, what I have in my box is not the wind.
That’s just the way wind is. We can experience it as it blows bracingly in our faces; as it wafts comfortingly through the trees; as it storms alarmingly at the door. We can experience the wind… but we cannot capture or contain it. Wind is just not that way.
The same is true of God. We can experience God deeply. As mentioned in the last post, it is a deeply human experience to gain a glimpse of Divine transcendence. Sometimes we experience the Fruit of the Divine Spirit. Other times we are deeply moved by a sense of the beyond-us-ness of reality. We see a sunsets or hold a newborn baby, and we get a glimpse. We love or are loved, and we get a glimpse. We grow in wisdom, awaken to truth, or are captured by beauty, and our experiences are something more… something transcendent. These glimpse-experiences move us. They change us.
And again as we mentioned in the last post, we need a code word to talk about that which cannot be talked about, so we latch on the the word “God.” However, as soon as we shoehorn our transcendent experience into a mental construct we call “God,” the thing we grasp onto, is not God.
This is the dilemma we bring to theological discussions like the one Anna-Mari’s question brings up. This is the background we have to work against as we try to understand our tradition; as we try to move forward on our spiritual journeys.
So, with these two posts as background, in the next post we’ll finally look at her question. If no mental construct can contain God, what about the cherished Christian doctrine of the Trinity?