True Christianity # 171

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171. The Trinity that the modern-day Christian church has embraced and integrated into its faith is that God the Father bore a Son from eternity, and the Holy Spirit came forth from them both. Each one is a god all by himself.

The only way the human mind can grasp this trinity is to view it as a "triarchy," like a government of three monarchs in one country, three generals over one army, or three heads in one household, each of whom has equal power. What other outcome could such a situation have except destruction? Any of us who try to picture or sketch that triarchy in our mind's eye, with its unity in mind as well, can view it only as a person with three heads on one body or three bodies with one head. This deformed image of the Trinity is bound to show up in those who believe in three divine persons, each of whom is God in his own right - those who connect them into one God while denying that "one God" means one person.

The concept of an eternally begotten Son of God who later comes down and takes on a human manifestation is like the ancient nonsense about human souls created at the beginning of the world that enter bodies and become people. It is also like the absurd notion that someone's soul can cross over into someone else. Many in the Jewish church used to believe this. They thought that the soul of Elijah was in the body of John the Baptist and that David was going to return in his own body or someone else's to reign over Israel and Judah, because it says in Ezekiel, "I will raise up one shepherd over them, who will feed them - my servant David. He will be their shepherd. And I, Jehovah, will be their God and David will be a prince in their midst" (Ezekiel 34:23-25; there are other such references as well). They did not realize that "David" there means the Lord.

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Thanks to the Swedenborg Foundation for the permission to use this translation.