Friday, January 06, 2012

Interdependence among the Godhead

Interdependence among the Godhead


Let us talk about trees.  A tree is a perennial woody plant. It is most often defined as a woody plant that has many secondary branches supported clear of the ground on a single main stem or trunk with clear apical dominance. A minimum height specification at maturity is cited by some authors, varying from 9 feet (3 m) to 18 feet (6 m); some authors set a minimum of 4 inches (10 cm) trunk diameter.


As we probably know, trees are an important component of the natural landscape because of their prevention of erosion and the provision of a weather-sheltered ecosystem in and under their foliage. They also play an important role in producing oxygen and reducing carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, as well as moderating ground temperatures. They are also elements in landscaping and agriculture, both for their aesthetic appeal and their orchard crops (such as apples). Wood from trees is a building material, as well as a primary energy source in many developing countries.


The roots of a tree are generally embedded in earth, providing anchorage for the above-ground biomass and absorbing water and nutrients from the soil. However, while ground nutrients are essential to a tree's growth the majority of its biomass – over 90 percent – comes from carbon dioxide absorbed from the atmosphere.  This process is called photosynthesis.  Photosynthesis is a chemical process that converts carbon dioxide into organic compounds, especially sugars, using the energy from sunlight.  Above ground, the trunk gives height to the leaf-bearing branches, aiding in competition with other plant species for sunlight. In many trees, the arrangement of the branches optimizes exposure of the leaves to sunlight.


Each part of the tree is interdependent with the other.  The root collects water for the whole tree and anchors the whole tree.  The trunk not only serves to give height to the foliage, but to transports water and nutrients from the root to the foliage, and vice versa.  The foliage collects sunlight and also inhales carbon dioxide necessary for photosynthesis.  So, the food and energy needed by the tree is formed in the leaves of the branches.  Is one part of the tree more important than the other?  No, it is not.  Each part is equally important, yet distinct.  Each part of the tree submits to the other so all can survive.  They are interdependent.


What is interdependence? It is the interlocking of parts within a system. It is a reciprocal relation between people, animals, organizations or things depending on each another. Interdependence is a relation between its members such that each is mutually dependent on the others and mutually beneficial.  This concept differs from a simple dependence relation, which implies that one member of the relationship can't function or survive apart from the other(s).  In an interdependent relation all entities need each other to survive and even thrive.  It comes from an understanding that all parts benefit from yielding to each other. 


The Godhead is interdependent.  They are not three different divine roles displayed by one Person (that is modalism). Nor are there three gods in a cluster (that is tritheism or polytheism). The one God ("He") is also, and equally, "They," and "They" are always together, always closely cooperating. The Holy Spirit executes the will of both Father and Son, which is also His will. This is the truth that God reveals about Himself all throughout the Bible. A believer may think of God the Father, Jesus the Word, and the Holy Spirit as compared to a tree: it is one tree, with the root hidden from sight, and the trunk revealing the presence of the root, and the branch bearing the fruit.


Some people struggle with the divinity of Christ because of how, while here in the flesh, Jesus had subordinated Himself to the will of the Father. Many see this as "proof" that He was somehow less than the Father; In other words, less or not divine.  This reality, however, is not evidence that Christ is less than the Father.  It just shows how the oneness of the Godhead.  They are equally submitted to one another.  And, this mutual submission is reflected, in how the plan of salvation was to operate. Jesus was to come into humanity, becoming "obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross" (Phil. 2:8, ESV). Also, "though He were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered; and being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salva­tion unto all them that obey him" (Heb. 5:8, 9). These statements reveal that the subordinate role Jesus played while incarnated, was also necessary, in fact, crucial to the plan of salvation. It does not prove that He is anything other than fully divine and eternal, while fully man.


Ellen white says that " 'His name shall be called Immanuel, . . . God with us.' 'The light of the knowledge of the glory of God' is seen 'in the face of Jesus Christ.' From the days of eternity the Lord Jesus Christ was one with the Father; He was 'the image of God,' the image of His greatness and majesty, 'the outshining of His glory.' It was to manifest this glory that He came to our world."—Ellen G. White, The Desire of Ages, p. 19.


Here is another quote from Ellen White supporting the triune God: "The Father is all the fullness of the Godhead bodily, ... invisible to mortal sight. The Son is all the fullness of the Godhead manifested. ... 'the express image of His person.' ... The Comforter ... is the Spirit in all the fullness of the Godhead, making manifest the power of divine grace to all who receive and believe in Christ as a personal Saviour. There are three living persons of the heavenly trio; in the name of these three great powers--the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit--those who receive Christ by living faith are baptized, and these powers will co-operate with the obedient subjects of heaven in their efforts to live the new life in Christ" (Special Testimonies, Series B, No. 7, pp. 62, 63 (1905); Evangelism, pp. 614, 615).  


Just as all parts of the tree are equally involved in the affairs of the tree all three persons of the Godhead are equally involved in the redemption of mankind.  

Raul Diaz