Body, soul and spirit — we are our own personal trinity!

Monday Musings for May 06, 2019

Good morning, Musers

A man from Asia (whose belief status is unknown to me) wants to know the difference between God being spirit and the Holy Spirit… and if there’s ever a time I’d prefer to be in dialog with a person rather than using a Q & A format, this is it. You see, a dialog is like playing tennis; it goes back and forth. But a Q & A is more like shooting mortars. I make educated guesses about the target… but I’m never sure if the right thing is blowing up!

That being said, there’s a hidden benefit to not knowing exactly what our earnest seeker is asking. Today’s response is also a lesson on how to approach ambiguous questions. Plus, there’s no way we can talk about the Holy Spirit without talking about the Trinity — and I say this with love… the Trinity can be a can of worms — although it’s a holy can of worms, to be sure.

Now, I didn’t broach physicalism today. But in retrospect (these musings come after the question-and-answer), it must be a sad life for people who disavow human volition on reductionist grounds. Physicalist reductionists aver that humans have no free will… but they insist on this because they believe we have no will at all — free or otherwise!

To them, everything we do has as its root cause the chemical activities of our brains. They don’t believe that a metaphysical mind exists in a person, so any impulses we feel is just our physical bodies fooling us into performing activities that will ultimately lead to procreation.

If that were my worldview, suicide would certainly be on the table… because ostensive nonexistence would be better than the hardships many of us face. But God built us to face these hardships… and all his revelations speak to something larger than mere physical reality… which admittedly… is pretty impressive on its own!

What, then, is the nature of our existence? We have bodies. Few argue about that. But what else do we have? What is it that causes us to be self-aware? What is it that allows us to talk to God and relate to each other? … the arrangement of our atoms? I don’t think so… but many do.

But not only do we Christians understand that our metaphysical and immortal souls account for our personalities, we also have our spirits to contend with — and the indwelling Holy Spirit further still! What a mess! … but I love it! It’s just hard to explain to someone who doesn’t know the Bible… and who, therefore, probably has no trinitarian knowledge — let alone sympathies!

In apologetics work, I often rely on natural theology rather than biblical theology because many apologetics topics are biblically underdetermined. But that never helps with the Trinity. You see, out there in the world of empirical data and pure philosophy, the Trinity just doesn’t pop out at us. In fact, without the Scripture, there is little evidence that the Trinity exists! But there is some.

You see, if God were not multipersonal, he could not have known love until he created other beings. But being a trinity, God has been a relational being throughout all eternity… and definitely, before he made us. So remember: God made us in his image… and this means that each one of us is our own personal trinity. We have a body, a soul and a spirit.

So, what’s the result? We can love God! In fact, it’s our nature to do so. But it’s only our nature to do so because he loved us first. This is why he made us this way. So, go love God… and go love each other. That’s the Ten Commandments in a nutshell… and that’s why we are here.

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