When a Dad Worries His Son, The Father Better Have Some Good Answers
I have four sons and a daughter, the firstborn being Matthew. He’s a thinker. And he’s trying to give his father a hard time over some of my comments. Matt’s worried that I’m putting the Torah as a higher authority than the Person of Jesus Christ as revealed in the gospels. Here’s his question:
“What role does the person of Jesus Christ play in all of this?”
Now Matthew is concerned that his father might be going off in a wrong direction, so he’s checking up on his old man to make sure. He comments further,
” Shouldn’t it be Jesus Christ that we look to as the central revolving point of the Scriptures rather than the Torah?”
Good questions. Here’s my reply:
Most of the apologetics that goes on on FaceBook is a defense of Christianity against atheism. The most ‘successful’ apologetic defense of Christianity is that which argues the Christian Worldview against the atheist worldview. It is successful because atheism is not really a worldview, just an accumulation of disconnected ideas.
But the same method has other applications. There are a number of people who now deny the Trinity and argue that God is a unitarian monad. Any argument against this must be done on a worldview basis to reveal the inability of the non-trinitarian viewpoint to answer important questions.
Some of these questions include:
1. If God is love, who did he love before he created anything else? If he existed alone as a unitary monad, any love he displayed would necessarily be narcissistic — self love. Since God is the ineffable standard for all things, are unitarians willing to promote narcissism as the supreme example of love? Trinitarianism, on the other hand, has a God where love is directed to other persons from all eternity, and therefore provides a different idea of love than unitarianism.
2. For over 2,500 years western thought has wrestled with the problem of knowledge, the problem of universals and particulars, the one-an-many problem. Unitarianism is unable to find any transcendental answer to the questions of the one-and-many, whereas Trinitarian belief does. It seems apparent that most unitarians seem unaware of the problem or ignore it if they are aware of it.
How Creation Provides Evidence For the Trinity
“Whether recognized or not, every argument and every theological, philosophical, political, or any other exposition is based on a presupposition about man, God, and society—about reality. This presupposition rules and determines the conclusion; the effect is the result of a cause. And one such basic presupposition is with reference to the one and the many.”
The doctrine of the Trinity is one of the key ‘essentials’ that defines Biblical theism in general and Christianity in particular. Yet the formalization of the doctrine in the early church was not without its opponents. Arius comes to mind. So connected is the Trinity with Christianity, the Trinity cannot be rejected without rejecting essential Christianity. And yet there are people who call themselves ‘believers’ who do reject the Trinity. And in so doing they reject everything that is attached to the concept as well.
The Trinity in Creation
In his book, The Biblical Basis of Modern Science, author Henry M. Morris suggested that the universe provides evidence of the Trinity. Space, time and matter are the identified building blocks of the universe. These, he said, can be further broken down again into three parts, so that there is a triunity of time, a triunity of space, and a triunity of matter. See figure 1. Without attempting to diminish such a conclusion from the physical sciences, however, there is a much stronger case to identify the Trinity in creation in the area of philosophy.
What is connected to the Trinity is the very foundation and possibility of knowledge. The implications of the concept of the Trinity are wrapped up in the philosophical discussion of the One and the Many, of universal and particulars. What exactly are universals and particulars? Particulars are the individual ‘things’, for example, that might be observed. An animal with four legs that has fur is a particular. A ‘thing’ with four legs that you sit on is a particular. But how is one particular ‘thing’ distinguished from any other particular ‘thing’? That is done by making use of ‘universals’. These are ‘categories’ or generalizations, a way of saying that one particular ‘thing’ belongs to this category and not another. Thus, an object with four legs that you sit on could be a chair or a horse. And it is by making use of universals ‘chair’ and ‘horse’ that the distinction is made.