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Trinitarian Worldview (Part 1): Investigating the nature of reality

Published On: August 21st, 2023Categories: TheologyBy

Personally, I believe that most theological systems, especially whose dealing with systematic theology, miss the bigger picture of the message of the Bible. This is not to say that they don’t add value to our understanding of Scripture and the fact that they at least ask the critical questions about certain doctrines of the Bible, forcing Christians to re-examine their convictions about what they believe and why they believe it. The only problem is, they all start with man and his fallen state from grace or sin. Man is now totally depraved and cannot respond to God or maybe he can, but not all can and now God must choose who can respond to his call of restoration or something….

Simply looking at the bigger picture and starting with the nature and character of God and reality will clear at least some of this confusion up without having to do Scriptural origami to fit a specific grid of theology that we seem to impose on Scripture. This is the first of three articles that will explore a trinitarian understanding of the nature of God and the realities of universe we live in, following this there will be articles that explore the trinitarian design of man and how we interact with these realities, and the trinitarian understanding of the process of salvation as it is laid out in Scripture.

What is real?

In order to investigate the nature of reality itself, we have to start with the observable evidence and then start digging deeper. When we look at an iceberg, what is observed above the water is merely a fraction of the total size of that ice block and most of it remains unseen beneath the surface. So it is in our lives too, with how we conduct ourselves or our external, observable behaviors apparent to those around us, essentially asking questions of right and wrong. But our behaviors are based upon our values, which is the first level underneath the water and unseen by the masses. It is at this level where our character is formed, and we ask the questions of what is good or bad for us. The second level under the water is our beliefs. Our values are based on our beliefs, and it is here that our convictions answer questions of what is true for us. But what is this foundation that we build our beliefs on? What answers the question of what is real and universally true or valid? The last level under that water, and the foundation for our beliefs and how they were formed and influenced, is our worldview. How we investigate, interpret, and interact with the cosmological objective truth around us directly impacts our beliefs, that in turn impacts our values and thus influences our behavior.

An illustrative depiction of "The Iceberg Principle."

Different cultures will have different worldviews and different ways of understanding the world around them. Examining all the different worldviews and their validity is beyond the scope of this article. We will however look at the different facets of the worldview laid out in Scripture and investigate how we can and ought to base our Christian beliefs on this worldview that will in turn impact every aspect of the believers’ life.

Re-examining Genesis 1:1

Before the fall of man, there was the very moment of creation itself. It is here that we must start to get a clear picture of the message of Scripture regarding the realities God made.

Genesis 1:1, “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.”

– “In the beginning”: Refers to the beginning of time, a construct that we use today within the external reality that we live in. It also predicates the understanding that there was a “time” before time existed (for a lack of a better explanation), which hints to something being of an eternal nature.

– “God”: This something that is of an eternal nature is actually a Someone. The very essence and nature of God is that He is of an eternal nature, standing outside of time, space, and the matter He created, and thus affirms the existence of an eternal reality.

– “created”: The very essence of creativity and the fact that someone can create anything, is based on the reality of a personality. If there is personality, then there is an internal reality that has to be acknowledged and explained in order to make sense of the universe as God created it to be.

The three realities then, from the opening verse of the Bible, are an eternal reality, an internal reality, and an external reality. It is from this trinitarian understanding of what is universally and objectively true, that we must start our understanding of Scripture.

As Christians we believe in a trinitarian God – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. One God, three Persons. We also now explored that God created the universe within the construct of three realities. In the next article we will explore the trinitarian nature of man and how we are created to interact with these three realities.

Side note: Another interesting revelation from Genesis 1:1 is that the triune God created the external reality with time (in the beginning), space (the heavens), and matter (the earth). These three are triune in themselves as time has a past, present, and future element to it… Space refers to the length, breadth, and width of something… and matter is made up of liquid, solid, and gas. (Just something extra).

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