1. The Trinity
Christianity is the most practiced religion all over the world, with billions of believers across the nations (Grenz 86). The Christian faith majorly focuses on the birth, baptism, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. There is no doubt that many countries around the world acknowledge the Christian faith and dedicate their government, citizens, and any other activity to God. The spread of Christianity over the years is indeed one of the significant contributions attributed to the missionaries; however, the spread of Christian religion has never come to an end; to this day, and Christian believers have taken an enormous step in incorporating technology towards the spread of Christianity. Today, Christians and other non-believers who are ready to embrace Christianity get teachings online at the comfort of their hand devices, which are phones, among others.
Understanding Christian religion and teachings, however, have been a debate for many years. The bible, written by different authors, is a book that offers Christian lessons. The book, whose authors were inspired and filled by the Holy Spirit, therefore, give teachings as stated by God, and not by the will of man. The bible consists of the new and Old Testament; both offer teachings of God and define how Christians should live by their faith (Migliore 22). Through the teachings of the Scripture, we understand one major characteristic about Christians; that is, they are monotheistic, and this means that they believe there is only one God, the creator of the universe. However, this divine God consists of three parts, that is, God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit, commonly known as the Trinity. For many years, God’s Trinity has brought confusion into the Christian religion, with some understanding it and others having different theories of the Trinity. For this reason, I will discuss God’s Trinity and help me in answering a few questions.
What is at stake in affirming that God is triune?
Understanding the doctrine of Trinity has been one of the most controversial issues discussed in the Christian religion over the years. Hence, it is no doubt that it has brought confusion among believers. Rediscovering the triune of God by Grenz Stanley acknowledges the Trinity of God; that is, there is the Father, The Son, and The Holy Spirit. However, understanding the relationship of the Trinity has brought about different theories that aim at defining what the Trinity is. In the book, rediscovering the triune of God, two theological debates conflict each other, the first theory states that, just like the Father, the Son is also eternal and has always existed alongside the Father. However, this theory emphasizes that the Son and the spirit are all subordinates of the Father. The second theology states that God is one and not three, the theory believes that the Son and the Spirit were the first creatures of God and that the Holy Spirit should be glorified and worshiped together with the Son and the Father.
Differences in theological debates and ideas have led to the split of Christian believers; to this day, Christian believers have had the challenge of understanding God. This has led to the introduction of different churches, each having their versions on the understanding of the Trinity. Grenz Stanley’s book talks about the split of the church into the Eastern and Western groups. The Eastern group believes that the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father, while the Western group believes that the Holy Spirit proceeds from both the Father and the Son. This difference has seen the split of the church into Roman Catholic and the Orthodox. However, further confusion of God’s Trinity will see even more churches split over the coming years.
Why does it matter?
As a Christian, it is essential to know God. Therefore, it is important to acknowledge that there is God, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, this kind of knowledge is vital in every Christian’s life. In this paragraph, I will point out why the Trinity matters in Christianity. The Christians worship and enjoy each person, that is, God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, this means, that the Christians worship a God beyond them. In the same way, they acknowledge the divine being of God the Father is the same way they should pray, praise the Son, and the Holy Spirit equally at all levels while appreciating the role of each Trinity in their lives.
The Trinity also plays a considerable role in prayer. Taking our appreciation of life, and the challenges we face every day before God in prayer allows Christians to know God (Grenz 117). The bible teaches Christians to pray to the Father, in Jesus’ name with the help of the Holy Spirit (Mathew 6:9). Praying in Jesus’ name gives Christians the confidence that God the Father will hear their prayers, the Holy Spirit, on the other hand, gives Christians the strength to want to pray, while at the same time, the Holy Spirit provides guidance when you don’t know what to ask from God.
What are the implications of believing this?
With the confusion of what the Trinity is, it has opened doors for questions to be asked about God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, it has also given non-believers of the Christian religion an advantage to criticize the doctrine, challenging the believers with myths and misconceptions, or confusing facts about the Trinity. Misunderstanding of Christianity and especially God’s Trinity has brought implications to the believers, and day by day, Christians get confused about understanding God Himself. Failure to understand Jesus is one of the impacts of believing in the Trinity. In Trinitarian theology, Jesus is both a man and God, Christians believe that Jesus like any other human being was born, baptized, lived and died, with evidence of even being in the company of the twelve disciples, however, the Trinity defines Jesus as a divine or supernatural being just like God, and the Holy Spirit. It is vital to understand that God Himself is God and not a man, as many believers confuse Jesus.
Another implication is that the Trinity creates an idol. The Orthodox Church, for instance, worships the Holy Spirit; this is wrong because God Himself curses man from worshiping idols. However, the Trinity consists of God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, but acknowledges God as one person that is three parts. The Trinitarian theology points out the Holy Spirit as a person. A person whom we must understand and recognize in the quest of knowing God the Father. An idol is a false God that Christians should not worship
How does the Trinity affect the way we think and leave out our faith?
Understanding the Trinity no doubt has been a significant challenge, confusions on the relationship of God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit has rendered many Christians into making the tough decision on which of the three Supreme beings is to be worshiped or believed, this kind of confusion makes many Christians to lose their faith in God and Christianity as a religion. Christians are also being convinced wrongly by the non-believers whose aims is to distract the church by giving them opinions and false reasons why the Christian religion is a scam; this also reduces their faith day by day, as such, believers walk away from the church more often.
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2. Ecological Crisis
The global environment is in ruins, the world over the years gradually changes day by day, with the growth of industries and the ever-evolving technology, the natural environment has suffered mostly because of the human race (McKim 16). In the biblical story of creation, God created the universe and everything in it; hence, human beings are not an exception to God’s creation. However, God gave the human race the power to rule over nature; thus, it is the responsibility of human beings to take care of every living and non-living organism on earth. With the ecological crisis, the world is currently facing like, global warming, earthquakes among other natural calamities; it is no doubt that indeed, the human race has neglected nature. This natural disaster the world is experiencing is due to human negligence on Christianity and God’s teachings on the environment. Discussed below are challenges Christians face concerning the ecological crisis in regards to the doctrine of creation.
Anthropocentrism is one challenge that has led to the ecological crisis facing the world. Anthropocentrism is the belief that human beings are the most important creation in the universe (Howard 213). Human beings are indeed an essential creation since the bible also acknowledges that man is created in the image and likeness of God; this means that man is the most intelligent of all creations in the universe. However, on the part of the humans, they have changed the whole meaning of what the bible speaks of them. Instead, they have developed this impression that all creations under them exist to satisfy their needs. This kind of reasoning has led to other God’s creation to suffer much; human beings have forgotten that just like them, every separate living and non-living creature in the universe has equal rights of existence, and as such, should be protected and taken care of. The perception of human beings that everything under this universe is theirs has led to some natural resources being exploited more often.
Another challenge is that the human race is only concerned about their consumption and not the environment. The economic situation in the universe, especially in the 21st century, has seen human beings abandoning God’s creation; instead, they have prioritized their needs regardless of the injustices they do to other creations. Economic greed has seen the universe encouraging profits, unlimited growth, and excess consumptions (Migliore 205). It has led to the ecological crisis, at the same time increase of poverty, living and non-living things injustices, other human sufferings, and financial crisis. However, the Christian theological approach has the solution towards the ecological crisis the universe is currently facing; Christians have better knowledge and solutions since the bible gives out the responsibility God gave man over the other creatures.
God gave human beings the power to rule over the earth and everything in it. However, human beings have misused that privilege, and that is another challenge towards ecological crisis, human beings have misused the natural resources, for instance, careless cutting of trees has led to natural disasters like soil erosion, deforestation, and has also denied other living and non-living organisms their shelter. All these ecological injustices are done for personal gains, carelessness, and continued ignorance towards God’s creation goes against the law of nature, and most importantly, goes against God’s love for the universe.
However, not all ecological crisis are associated with human ignorance; according to other theological believes, the bible largely contributes to contribute to the environmental crisis. According to Lynn white, the bible is hostile towards the environment and nature, in the Old Testament, Lynn argues out that there is a hostile perception of the wilderness, as seen in the book of Genesis, the book of Psalms 8 encourages human beings to subdue the earth and rule over it. Lynn and other anthropologists argue out that there is an absence of the biblical concept of nature and lack of attention given to the earth.
Patriarchal monotheism is another challenge towards ecological crisis, Lynn White, Pg75 argues out that everything started going wrong when humanity changed their existence from hunting and gathering to agriculturists, a move that changed the whole universe, according to Lynn, the socio-economic shift was the beginning of the ever poor health of the world. However, Lynn argues out that the socio-economic change into agricultural communities is not just a culture adopted a few years ago, the legitimization of the socio-economic shift by the patriarchal monotheists has mostly contributed to the ecological crisis since long ago, and that humans today have adopted the trend that was set before. Lynn believes that the Judaeo-Christian faith allowed the socio-economic shift that is widely practiced till today.
The Promised Land in the bible depicts another ecological injustice. God promised Abraham land, as evident in the book of Genesis chapter 12 and chapter 13, the land was an appreciation God was going to give Abraham out of his faith for Him. However, theological research reveals; otherwise, Lynn believes that, land as a commodity belonging to humans, and that Abraham knew what the land was for, he knew that God promising him the land was meant for his production and personal gain, though the land was out of appreciation. Today, the land is a precious commodity that man can own, and the need to own a piece of it has rendered faithful believers into economic and financial slavery, for every human being wants to fulfill the desire of their heart, and compromise their faith in God. Theological researches believe that this is, however, not the human problem, but the bible’s failure to acknowledge nature and the environment.
In conclusion, as much as the ecological research depicts the bible as also contributing to the world economic crisis, it is also best to acknowledge that human beings in equal measures contribute to the environmental crisis. Setting up industries that release waste products into the environment, cutting down trees unnecessarily has led to deforestation, soil erosion
-which further leads to natural disasters like earthquakes are all human doings. Human beings have also neglected their faith and believe in God, they have completely forgotten that God gave them the absolute authority to rule over the world, and take care of everything in it, living and non-living, a responsibility that the human race has failed.
It is important to note that all God’s creations are good, and their value is beyond personal views; this explains why Christians should keep their faith in God, regardless of theological researches, whether actual or pointing out lies. The acknowledgment of God’s creation should enable the Christians to invest their time, resources towards keeping God’s creation; for instance, Christians should make bolder moves in making laws that govern people against misuse and unnecessary damage of the natural resources.
3. Providence of God
Christianity involves faith. Christians have trust or confidence in God, though they have never seen Him; however, through miracles recorded in the bible, Christians believe that indeed, God is a God of miracles. Jesus Himself performed miracles, for instance, He resurrected Lazarus from the dead, turned water into wine, walked on water are just but a few examples Christian believe there are miracles, the feeling has never faded away, across the world, Christians still believes in Christ, and credits Him with all the supernatural and humanly impossible things happening currently. In the bible, a clear definition of faith is learned from the life story of Abraham, the book of Genesis recorded the faith Abraham had in God, he believed in everything God told him or showed him, from the story of Abraham, Christians learn that hope is having to believe in God, without questioning His plans he has for your life. Everything that happens, whether good or bad, faith should not be challenged.
However, in today’s world, faith in God has been challenged, according to St. Anselm in faith seeking and understanding, scientist tend to prove that some humanly impossible things that happen is because of the natural setting of the world, a theory that seems not far from the truth, human beings especially the non-believers have always denied the fact that most supernatural things happening is because of God and his complex creation. Scientists have still been working tirelessly to find answers, and it is evident since they have published books, journals explaining their work, and some have been adopted by most universities and other learning institutions all over the world.
As much as many people all over the world have been enlightened with little scientific knowledge in understanding nature, however, a firm believer in Christianity, and I would not agree with the scientific explanations of life. The learning institutions should adopt the scientific reasons on matters to do with nature, but should only limit to satisfy the desire of studying; human beings should understand that God providence is much more than science, all his creation should be respected and accepted the way they are because they are perfect. All the natural occurrences happen because that is how God created the universe; hence, researching for more information or answers goes against God, and it proves that indeed the human race lacks faith and is not satisfied with God’s creation.
According to St. Anselm, theology begins and ends with faith. He further says that faith relates to some personal experience with God. Today, many Christians especially the born again believers, in their testimonies attributes their experiences that led them to God; some believe that they were in some kind of a hard situation in life that God saved them, in most cases, Christians find themselves in a tricky situation in life, it might be financial difficulties or inability to regain consciousness from worldly things, human beings at the end of the day, understands that when faced with problems, God is the only remedy to our suffering. I agree with St. Anselm; faith in God does not only come ordinarily; human experiences lead them to have faith in God. This explains why there are born again Christians, and not born again Christians.
Many Christians, however, do not understand what faith is, for a Christian to be fully understood what faith is, they need to understand and go through the scriptures, tradition, reason, and experience. Lack of knowledge on the four theologies has led to many Christians misunderstand what faith is, some human beings believe that having faith in God is about Him fulfilling their desires, punishing those who go against us, some also believes that their sins are way too many and perhaps deadly, and hence, have psychological insecurity that their sins cannot be forgiven, thus, shying away from talking to God mostly in prayer, some even fear that God will deprive them of the earthly desires. I agree with the fact that human beings lack understanding of what faith is; this is because we think of ourselves more than we think of God.
All Christians should agree, that God’s providence is concealed from the human race (Migliore 123); however, we understand and believe that God rules the world fair and justly, Christians believes that what happens to man, especially the wrong things, that are all fellow man’s doing, and rather than seeking answers from God, they find the services of sorcerers and wizards, the false perception that man is responsible for all the misfortunes that happen to a fellow man’s life has pointed out how pathetic the human race faith is towards God. In ruling the world, God also punishes the wrongdoings that man does. He forgives and gives man another chance to redeem himself and find the lost self.
Many Christians have also had their fair share of disappointments when it comes to an intervention of God’s grace in their lives; the human race lacks humility and patience, this is a significant challenge towards putting their faith in God, one can choose not to believe in the miracles from the old and new testament, this because human beings believe in having a personal experience with God, to re-define their faith. The human race should also avoid challenging God’s providence, they should understand that any injustices done to them as a result in believing in God is only but a test to prove their faith to God, and hence, they should not think that providence is sleeping. For one to believe in God’s providence, then it is essential to embark on a journey to find our inner self and truth, this allows us to understand God, therefore, building faith in Him.
In conclusion, I believe that my experience in overcoming challenges, even in the most challenging moments in my life, has to help me increase my faith in God, humility, patience, and hope that all my desires and wishes will be fulfilled. Overcoming hardships in life is, however, because of God’s intervention. By His grace that every challenge the human race faces are solved, this means that God’s providence is upon humanity. Whatever we believe or practice under the universe, God knows, and it is in His interest to deliver humanity. However, it is also very important for Christians to understand that, God can only be one and not three, each trinity, God the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit all have specific roles, however, and the son the Holy Spirit are all dependents of God. The Holy Spirit should guide Christians, it should help us make the right decisions on every challenge we face. The Son should remind us that, at one point in time, God sent His Son to guide us and teach us on the correct Christian doctrines we should adopt and live by. Above all, we should acknowledge God, the mercies he showed upon the human kind, and have faith in everything He does for humanity.
Grenz, Stanley J., Rediscovering the Triune God: The Trinity in Contemporary Theology. Minneapolis: Augsburg Fortress, 2004.
Stone, Howard W. and James O. Duke, How to Think Theologically, Second Edition. Minneapolis: Augsburg Fortress, 2006.
McKim, Donald K., Westminster Dictionary of Theological Terms. Louisville: Westminster John Knox, 1996.
Migliore, Daniel L., Faith Seeking Understanding: An Introduction to Christian Theology, Second Edition. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2004.
Placher, William C., ed. Essentials of Christian Theology. Louisville: Westminster John Knox, 2003.