Friday, October 12, 2012

God as Cherry Pie

God as Cherry Pie

We are going to review some grammar. A noun is a name. A proper noun is someone’s name. An improper or common noun is every other name. For example, Ana is a female. Ana is a proper noun. Female is a common noun. Now you will notice that before female is the letter “A”. In this case the letter “A” is really a word that gives a description to the word female. “A,” in this case, is an article.

An article is a word (or prefix or suffix) that is with a noun to indicate the type of reference being made by the noun. Articles specify the grammatical definiteness of the noun. The articles in the English language are “the” and “a/an,” and (in some contexts) some. “The” is a definite article. A definite article indicates that its noun is a particular one (or ones) identifiable to the listener. An indefinite would be the opposite. Let us see some examples in sentences, “The children know the fastest way home.” This sentence refers to specific children and a specific way home; it contrasts with the much more general observation that: Children know the fastest way home. The latter sentence refers to children in general, perhaps all or most of them. Likewise, “Give me the book” refers to a specific book whose identity is known or obvious to the listener; as such it has a markedly different meaning from “Give me a book,” which does not specify what book is to be given.

When I have guests and I offer them pie, I can say, “I have pie.” This sentence can mean that I either have more than one or less than one. If I say, “I have a pie,” it is clear that I mean I have one complete pie. If I happen to ask one of my guests, “Would you please bring the pie,” it is clear that we are talking about a specific one, and we assume it is also complete.

If I cut the pie into three equal parts (three slices), I still have a complete pie. I can call it, “a pie,” or “the pie.” The moment I take a slice out, it is no longer a complete pie. Therefore, I can only speak about it in terms of “pie” or “what is left of the pie.” The three slices make up the one pie. Although, each slice is distinct from another, all three slices are made of the same material: same crust, same filling, and possibly the same frosting. So, while the slice is pie, it is not the pie. The pie is all three slices together.

With this in mind let us talk about the Godhead. Yes, earthly metaphors are limited, but they can shed light on Divine reality. The verses from our lessons tell us that, God spoke of Himself as plural (Genesis 1:26, 3:22, 11:7; John 1:1-3, 18; 20:28; 2 Corinthians 13:14; Matthew 28:19). Yet, The Bible is clear that God is the Father, God is the Son, and God is the Holy Spirit, and the three are One: "The LORD our God is one LORD" (Deut. 6:4). The one who believes the Holy Bible thinks of God as one, prays to God as one, and worships God as one, not three gods. And he praises God for His love in revealing Himself to us and adopting us in Christ as His children, so that we are no longer "orphans," "aliens … and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world" (John 14:18; Eph. 2:12).

The following Ellen White's statement on the God head is clear as sunlight:

"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).

God is a union of three different persons with three different but supportive and complementary roles. 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. And, as all three were involved in the Creation of this planet, all three are involved in the redemption of man. All three are love (agape)(1 John 4: 8, 16). They are corporately of the same essence. The essence of agape is the self-denying and self sacrificing disposition. It is always other centered; therefore it always gives and never calls attention to itself (1 Corinthians 13: 4 - 5). The Father gave the Son and glorified Him (John 3: 16; 8: 54); the Son made Himself subject to the Father and glorified the Father, not Himself (John 5: 30; 6: 38; 14: 1 – 3). The Father and the Son sent to us the Holy Spirit (John 14: 16, 26; 15: 26; 16: 7); the Holy Spirit in turn testifies of the Son, not Himself (John 15: 26). Finally, the Father also testifies of Jesus: for example when the Father said, “This is my Son in whom I delight” (John 5: 31; Matthew 3: 17; 17: 5).