The Trinity Isn’t a Chick in Leather

Reading Suzanne McCarthy’s series about Denny Burk’s interpretation(s) of the Carmen Christi (Phillipians 2:5-11) over at BLT has set me off again.

People who want to model human relationships on the Trinity really bug me!

Human beings are how like the Trinity? I mean, the famous joke is that no one understands the Trinity but (insert ancient theologian here) and he had his doubts.  If we can model our relations on the 1/3/1, shouldn’t we understand Him/They a little better than this? But we can’t because as we all come to realize in life, human beings are alone, separate beings who wake up and act within their own consciousness. God is not this way, because He is One Who is Three. What this means has been and always will be argued, but one natural consequence of the 1/3/1 is that it is nigh impossible to imagine the Persons disagreeing. (We can imagine anything. Doesn’t mean what we imagine is remotely logical.) This pretty much blows any analogy of human interaction to the Trinity out of the water, because people can and DO disagree, even the closest of siblings and the most intimate of lovers.

Also, I cannot help but feel that the inevitable consequence of focusing on the differences between the Persons of God is a subtle step toward Tritheism (of course all talk of the Trinity sails between the various heresies). Or more likely, dynamic monarchianism (the Father is the “real” God, the Son and Spirit are some sort of different and therefore lesser form of God).

To make this all practical rather than theoretical, I say that Denny Burk and others are misreading Philippians 2:5:

Php 2:6 NA26  ὃς ἐν μορφῇ θεοῦ ὑπάρχων οὐχ ἁρπαγμὸν ἡγήσατο τὸ εἶναι ἴσα θεῷ,

Php 2:6 NET  who though he existed in the form of God did not regard equality with God as something to be grasped,

What Burk and others want to do is read this verse this way: “who though he existed in the form of the Father did not regard equality with the Father as something to be grasped”. That’s not what it says, and that is not what it is about. The Carmen Christi is not addressing the differences between the Persons of  God, but the differences between God and man.  

It is not surprising Burk and other subordinationists are confused by the Carmen Christi. It is a source of problems, as seen also in Kenosis Theory.  As always,  the wise move with any section of scripture is:

1) Read the whole sense section, not just a verse alone.

2) Read it again, slowly.

3) Context, context, context

4) Compare translations (or if you know some Greek, compare lexicons).

If you want to know any more about the Trnity, ask Nick Norelli. He knows everything Trinitarian, or has the book about it.

As for me, my head hurts. I’m off to take an aspirin. The Trinity, bless Him/Them, is like that.

(P.S. This post created entirely WITHOUT Wikipedia. And better for it.)

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2 responses to “The Trinity Isn’t a Chick in Leather

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