THE EQUIVALENCE OF THE THREE PERSONS
THE TRIUNE GOD
The Somist Institute
The relationships among God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit are logically explained though the relation of equivalence. The three terms are reflexive, symmetric, and transitive. This relation allows us to reach a better understanding of the mystery of the Triune God. A fuller understanding is reached through the mystical union with God. This union, which still does not pierce the mystery of God, is open to all human beings; and, with the help of the equivalence among Being, Becoming, and Existence, the paper clarifies that wanting to reach it is an entirely rational act.
Carmine Gorga is a former Fulbright scholar and the recipient of a Council of Europe Scholarship for his dissertation on ”The Political Thought of Louis D. Brandeis” at the University of Naples, Italy. Using age-old principles of logic and epistemology, in a book and a series of papers Dr. Gorga has transformed the linear world of economic theory into a relational discipline in which everything is related to everything else—internally as well as externally. He was assisted in this endeavor by many people, notably for 27 years by Professor Franco Modigliani, a Nobel laureate in economics at MIT. The resulting work, The Economic Process: An Instantaneous Non-Newtonian Picture, was published in 2002 and is currently being republished in an expended version. For reviews, please see http://www.carmine-gorga.us/id18.htm. During the last few years, Mr. Gorga hasconcentrated his attention on matters of methodology for the reunification of the social and the physical sciences.
It is with some shock and much trepidation that this writer approaches the self-appointed task of presenting a paper on such an awe-inspiring topic as the equivalence of the three persons of the Triune God. Shock derives from the discovery that both Boethius, the philosopher who formalized the properties of the equivalence relation, and Thomas Aquinas, the supreme philosopher of the Middle Ages, left their treatises on the Trinity unfinished (1) and that neither they nor any other philosopher or theologian ever since has attempted to explain the Trinity with the help of the equivalence relation—a natural match, as we shall see. St. Augustine, of course, is fully exonerated from this lapse because he wrote before the equivalence relation was formally enunciated; and later philosophers and theologians can be excused only on the basis of Bernard Lonergan’s realization that the crises of modernity find their root in a crisis of “method”; what remains surprising, nevertheless, is that neither process philosophy nor process theology make use of the principle of equivalence. But all that only proves that it takes time for the continuing and persistent work of revelation to illuminate our thick grey matter. Trepidation derives from the knowledge of this writer’s limitations and inadequacy in the field of theology. And yet, writing on this subject is the fulfillment of a life’s dream for him. The intuition of the equivalence of the three persons of the Triune God has been the hidden source of his strength in applying the equivalence relation to a variety of fields during more than forty years of research. This effort, which has yielded a new methodology and a string of publications in economic justice,(2) economic theory,(3) economic policy,(4) and in physics,(5) has perhaps prepared him in a particular way for the present task. Thus, in the end, this is an attempt to express a miniscule measure of thankfulness to the Triune God for the strength, joy, and support that the construction of the equivalence relation has given him over the years as well as a request for forgiveness for taking so long to attend to this task. The hope, of course, is that if there is any scintilla of validity in the present work, it will eventually be perfected by more able minds.
When successfully completed, this paper humbly tries to suggest, this work will relate the Trinity to everything else. This is work that needs to be done. Ever since the Enlightenment, most intellectuals, with Newton and Hume at the head of the parade, have seen only a series of paradoxes in the theology of the Triune God. Casting theology into the format of the equivalence relation should reduce the dangers of seeing paradoxes in the relationships among the three persons of the Trinity. An implicit advantage in using this tool of analysis rests in the fact that the equivalence relation is well known to logicians and mathematicians and, once it is realized that the equivalence relation envelops also the structure of the syllogism, it becomes apparent that this relation is well-known to philosophers and all literati as well.
Of course, making the description of the Triune God a logically understandable set of relationships does not make the very existence of the Triune God a matter of logical necessity. Far from it. The existence of the Triune God remains—as it should—a mystery.
I. Plan of the Work
Since everyone, as we shall see, seems to use the equivalence relation mostly unawares of its characteristics, we shall first outline the canonical requirements for this relation to be logically valid as well as the fundamental advantages of casting our thought processes into this format. Only then we will use this relation to logically explicate the description of the Triune God. That analysis will lead us to mysticism. To curb the fear of lack of rationality in our search for the Triune God, we shall extend the use of the equivalence relation to briefly cover the field of metaphysics. It will then become evident that the search for God is a very rational act indeed. Such a conclusion leads to this core message: One should never abandon rationality; yet, one should always recognize the limits of rationality as inherent in the very structure and existence of human beings.
II. A New Method of Analysis
The equivalence relation, this writer has discovered through long study, forms the foundation of a new “method” and, in turn, this method of analysis forms the seed a new philosophy that, when fully explored, will eventually transform rationalism into relationalism. It will then be seen that relationalism is the full bloom of rationalism. This is a new system of thought in which everything is logically related to everything else. As pointed out above, this method has already yielded substantial new insights into economic theory, economic policy, theory of economic justice, and physics. For the present purposes it is sufficient to remain on the foundation of the new methodology.
III. The Equivalence Relation
The canonical requirements of the equivalence relation are that there be three terms present in the discussion and that each term be reflexive (identical to itself throughout the discourse), symmetric (exchanging each term with the other, one observes the same entity from two points of view and thus obtains a deeper understanding of both terms), and transitive (each term must transition into the other in order that all terms be intimately related to each other; more specifically, as we shall see, a third term must exist to which both terms are equivalent in order to eschew the confines of circular reasoning, in order to observe the same entity from three points of view and thus have a triple check on our reasoning, as well as to make a complete analysis of the entity under observation). At the highest level of abstraction, the equivalence relation can be alternatively represented with these symbols: A ≡ B ≡ C; or A = B = C; or A ↔ B ↔ C.
There are various reasons why it is essential to cast any serious analysis in the format of the equivalence relation. The basic function of this relation becomes apparent as one realizes that the mind tends to avoid all singularities. There is a good reason for this practice. By definition, a single number, a single point, a single observation does not lead to an objective, replicable analysis or experiment: what is the meaning of “I”, what is the meaning of “am”? This type of investigation leads only to an abyss of words. Logical analysis begins with the observation of two terms, two events: “I am”; this is something worth investigating. Yet, the observation of two events necessarily leads to circularity of reasoning. Once we are faced with only two observations, we are obliged to observe all possible relationships linking the two terms. Hence, the mind is led back to the exploration of all potential outcomes of the position of Point B on the circumference in relation to Point A at the center of the circle. This is a process that, in extreme conditions, eventually leads to the reversal of one’s position (an 1800 turn): “am I (?)”; and then to a return to one’s original position—and no certainty is acquired in the meantime. Therefore, logic asks for a third term; one might as well start with the basics: “man” or “God.” The third term points the research in the right direction: “I am man”; “I am God.” And yet, if the third term is placed in a linear relation, position, or alignment the end result might be a dispersal of the thought process into the empty infinity of an enlarged circle, such as I → am → man, or I → am → God. Linearity leads to progressio ad infinitum. In any linear construction (such as, with their different levels of abstraction, A → B → C…; or, oranges → apples → tomatoes…; or, fish → apes → humans…), there is no logical beginning and no logical end to the analysis—except an arbitrary beginning and an arbitrary end. It is the equivalence relation that restrains the analysis from collapsing into an empty infinity by insisting that each end is a beginning and each beginning is an end, and by constraining the terms into a strictly interlocked relationship as in the standard configuration: A ↔ B ↔ C.
The equivalence of the three terms—“I,” “am,” and “man”—is indeed offered here at its highest level of generality, as A ↔ B ↔ C or as a positional equivalence. It is also offered as a conjecture of the possible equivalence of Subject, Predicate, and Object. How are the three essential ligaments of linguistics held together is a question that this writer has not had the opportunity to investigate yet. Their relation of equivalence is offered as a mere conjecture on the notion that those three elements tie words into a sentence and give them meaning.
Mathematics and logic are rather abstract and forbidding. Geometry is friendlier. Thus, in order to make them visually evident, one can recast the symbols of the equivalence relation into a geometric format. Using established protocols one obtains the following diagrammatic model, which can eventually be filled with any aspect of the reality that one wants to investigate:
Figure 1. The Equivalence Relation
Figure 1 reads as follows. A is equivalent to B and to C, if and only if A, B, and C are identical to themselves throughout the conversation; if and only if one progressively interchanges A with B, B with C, and C with A and obtains an always deeper understanding of the same reality; and, finally, if and only if one can reasonably conclude to have exhausted the analysis after having looked at the object under observation not only from the point of view of A and B, but also from the point of view of C. Thus, any assumed relation of equivalence has to pass these nine tests to be proved logically valid. As a result of these mental operations, as it can be seen, the equivalence relation uncovers (rather than establishes), not a linear or sequential, but an instantaneous, continuous, and organic set of relationships among the terms.
Substantively, in the equivalence relation each term forms a concrete world of its own, a condition that sheds lights of understanding on each one of the other two. The easiest method to realize that the three terms—while representing whole worlds of their own—are inextricably related to each other is to alternatively superimpose upon each other the three rectangles of Figure 1. Two rectangles are obstructed from view, but they remain stubbornly there. Indeed, it is then that we come to the full realization that only by distinguishing the three entities from each other can we hope to understand them all. Otherwise, we reduce the construction to a singularity such as A; or lock it into circular reasoning, if we were to deny either the reality of B or the reality of C.
The equivalence relation is well known and widely used. It starts in logic and is a constitutive element of all aspects of mathematics. It stands at the very foundation of the number system, in which three fingers of my hand (3 of base 10 number system) are equivalent to a word/number/symbol—namely, three, 3, or III—and to the three apples in front of my eyes. All algebraic relations are equivalence relations. A system of equations is based on the equivalence relation. A triangle is based on the equivalence relation. The whole of trigonometry is based on the equivalence relation. The equivalence relation has the widest possible range of application outside of mathematics as well. As noted, this writer has found it to be applicable to methodology, economic theory, economic justice, and physics. And since all forms of syllogism are based on the equivalence relation, it turns out that the equivalence relation is also well known to philosophers and the literati.
From the above it inexorably follows that the equivalence relation is ready-made for the study of Trinitarian theology. Indeed, as we shall briefly see, the equivalence relation is ready-made not only for the study of Christian theology, but for the study of all three monotheistic religions. And, mutatis mutandis, it appears to be appropriate for the study of all religions.
IV. The Equivalence of the Three Persons of the Triune God
The equivalence relation is a constitutive, axiomatic element of the theological conception of the Triune God. Its fundamental terms are reflexive, symmetric, and transitive. The identification of the three persons of Christian theology—God the Father, God the Son, and the Holy Spirit—and the relationships among them can be more easily studied if they are cast into the diagrammatic model outlined above, namely
Figure 2. Relational Theology
Figure 2 reads as follows. God the Father is posited as equivalent to God the Son and both are equivalent to the Holy Spirit. The tests of validity of this assumption are, at a minimum, as follows. Is God the Father identical to himself, is he ever confused with any other term of this equivalence or any other entity outside this equivalence, all through the theological discourse? The same question has to be asked of God the Son and the Holy Spirit. This test basically involves the application of the principle of identity. If there is any contradictory evidence throughout the discourse, then the posited equivalence is not valid. The second set of tests is this: Does one see God the Father through the Holy Spirit as well as through God the Son? Alternatively, does one see the Holy Spirit through God the Father and God the Son? Equally, does one see God the Son through the Hoy Spirit and God the Father? The third set of tests asks us to ascertain whether observing God the Father one can at the same time see the Holy Spirit and God the Son. If and only if the analysis yields positive answers to these questions then one can rest assured that the relationship among the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit is a relation of equivalence. The three terms, in brief, have the same value and the same weight. These answers are indeed found in any Christian text of theology.
Figure 2 establishes that while each person of the Triune God occupies its own distinctive position, the three persons are in full relationship with each other. This complexity has been explained in theological texts innumerable times. Technically, it is better observed perhaps by rotating about its geometric center at ever increasing speed, not only the entire Figure 2, but also each rectangle inside Figure 2. One then obtains the image of four circles: one, the circle of God the Father; two, the circle of Holy Spirit; three, the circle of God the Son; four, the circle of the Divinity as a whole. And what is a circle, if not a two-dimensional image of a sphere? Ultimately, one is thus presented with a construction composed of four interpenetrating concentric spheres, one for each point of view from which the world of relational theology can be observed: the point of view of the Father, the Holy Spirit, the Son, and the point of view of the Trinity.
Figure 2 can be interpreted not only to mean that God the Father is a different manifestation of the Holy Spirit and God the Son is a different manifestation of the same Divinity, but also along these lines: The world of relational theology has to be observed first from the point of view of God the Father, then from the point of view of the Holy Spirit, and then from the point of view of God the Son. The essential prerequisite is to see these three aspects of the Trinity not in a linear fashion, but in a relational mode, namely as three separate and distinct viewpoints of the same Divinity. This description is nothing but standard Christian theology.
A) The Skeleton of Standard Christian Theology
God the Father remains the same through the entire Christian theological discussion, just as God the Son and the Holy Spirit do. One can exchange God the Father with God the Son and observe the same Divinity. The Spirit of God the Father and the Spirit of God the Son are together interpenetrated into the same Divinity that is called the Holy Spirit. No sooner does one take notice of such an invisible reality as the Holy Spirit, no sooner has one to recognize that the presence of the Holy Spirit is nothing but a third manifestation of the Divinity, an expression of the One God. The Holy Spirit is the relationship that links God the Father to God the Son to such an extent that, seeing the Holy Spirit, one sees God the Father as well as God the Son at the same time. Such a relationship is and cannot be other than a relationship of love, Love that represents both persons to such perfection as to become a distinct third entity. This person exudes not only love for the other two persons but also love for the created world and love for us human beings.
Think of love to the max, and you see God the Father in every speck of creation. Think of love to the max concretized in this world, and you see Jesus Christ. Think of both together and you see the Holy Spirit. Surely, there is ugliness and injustice in the world; but analyze ugliness and injustice profoundly and you discover that they are the effect of actions generated by human beings and tolerated by God because he does not want to take our freedom away. Surely, there were and there are other human beings who were crucified; but analyze the situation profoundly and you discover some essential differences: Jesus alone, being God, could have said “good bye” and slipped off the cross; Jesus alone, being God, knowingly consented to be crucified so that we might believe in God “our Father” who is Spirit; Jesus, perhaps first among all human beings, forgave those who crucified him, while they were crucifying him.
For a Christian this compenetration of the three persons in one is more easily recognized through the presence of God the Son. Jesus could perform the most impressive miracles such as only God the Father can perform; Christ could die and on the third day be resurrected because the spirit of God the Father that is in him could not die; Jesus could pass through the walls of the Sepulcher and the Cenacle—and he can be present in the consecrated Host—because he is pure Spirit; and, speaking personally, this writer has yet to discover any person on earth who has ever had such a comprehensive and penetrating knowledge of human beings combined with perfect knowledge of God the Father as Jesus. For this writer that is proof positive that Jesus is indeed God the Son: seeing the Son, one sees the Father;(6) seeing the relationship between the Father and the Son, one sees both persons together, and then one sees the Holy Spirit.
One can investigate all the characteristics of each one of the three persons, and be satisfied with the understanding of each person. However, reality suggests that by focusing exclusively on any one of the three persons, one loses the concept of the Divinity as a whole. One is not really in touch with the Divinity of the One God. Is not this the central message of Pope Benedict XVI in his Jesus of Nazareth?(7)
B) Does the Conception of the Triune God Exclude Judaism and Islam?
No, not al all. All monotheistic religions share the conception of the Triune God. Specific names might be different from religion to religion, but the various concepts reflect the same reality. Generalizing, it is possible to say that all monotheistic religions share the conception of God the Father, God the Son, and the Holy Spirit; indeed, they also share the conception of the structure that links these three entities to each other. Structurally, in fact, both Judaism and Islam are constructed as Trinitarian conceptions. To see this reality, it is necessary to recall that for Judaism the concept of the Son is manifested in the person of the Messiah; for Christianity the concept of the Son is manifested in the person of Jesus; and for Islam the concept of the Son is manifested in the person of Vali Asr, the revered Hidden Imam, whose appearance, someday, Shiite Muslims believe, will establish the perfect Islamic political community. The other major difference among the three religions is of course related to the timing of the coming of the Son on earth. This most contentious of all conceptions is elided here by recurring to a simple observation. If God the Father is eternal, it means that time does not exist for him; hence it does not exist for God the Son either: God the Son is, has been, and will be with us forever. A much more pedestrian but perhaps more convincing way of facing this burning issue is to admit that, while as Christians we believe in the presence of the historic Christ, nearly all of us have much work to do to reach the conception of the spiritual Christ in our hearts: this Christ is mostly still to come. Hence, Christians, Jews, and Muslims are on the same page. Much more pragmatically, to keep this distinction between the historic Christ and the spiritual Christ alive in the heart of humanity is perhaps the function of the Jewish people. (But ought the Jews to have paid and still pay such a heavy price for keeping the flame of the Spiritual Messiah alive?) Similarly, to keep the spirituality of Allah as a burning reality in our hearts is perhaps the function of the believers of Islam.
C) Does the Conception of the Triune God Exclude Other Religions?
The short answer again is: no, not at all. After granting all substantial differences, if one is in search of what unites—rather than what divides—humanity, one has to conclude that the conception of Brahma, Shiva, and Vishnu is structurally identical to the conception of the Triune God in monotheistic religions. The Indian theologian Raimon Panikkar has been developing the Trinitarian conception of Cosmotheandrism, namely the equivalence of Theos, anthropos, and cosmos; and another Indian philosopher and theologian, Joseph Kaipayil, points out(8) that the conception of Cosmotheandrism is akin to the Chinese idea of Heaven, Earth, and Man forming a trinity. And this conception, of course, is not far removed from the Native American conception of Man, Earth, and the Great Spirit.
To eschew the danger of embracing pantheism with or through any of these conceptions, it is sufficient to distinguish God from the Spirit of God. While the Spirit of God can be in any created entity(9) and, therefore, being infinite is everywhere, God can be conceived as an entity that stands outside time and outside space.
In such a conception, God is an absolute mystery to us.
V. The Mystery of God
Having said all that, having gained perhaps a better understanding of each person of the Triune God, and realizing that the whole of God can be understood only through the understanding of the divinity of the One God, we have to realize that having done all that still does not give us any better understanding of God. A good dose of realism combined with even a modicum of humility suggests that we will never understand God, we will never comprehend God. To comprehend God we would need to be at least, in every sense, as comprehensive as God.
Thus we must conclude that God is a mystery. And then we can sympathize with all Evolutionists who are in search of the explainable God and, since they cannot find him, they deny his existence. And, yet, ironies of ironies, why do Evolutionists not realize that, denying the mystery of God, they are compelled to believe in billions and billions of miracles occurring at every instant in order to keep creation together? (Is the suspicion totally unfounded that the late urge to solve these billions of mysteries with the aid of science is somehow related, in direct proportion, to the growth of the modern practice of public funding for this research? There seems to be a symbiosis there. If researchers had to put their money where their mouth is, it is questionable whether they would formulate as many questions as they do today.)
As soon as we admit to the awesome reality of the mystery of God, we open the door to the mystical union with God. If and when it pleases God, God reveals himself (herself? itself? God as spirit has no gender) to us. And indeed, he reveals himself to anyone who desires to be united with him. It is one of the strongest tenets of the Carmelite charism, one of the deepest and most democratic charisms on earth, to believe that the way to a mystical union with God is open to every human being.
Having said this much, is it tantamount to saying that the mystical union with God, that indeed any form of association with God, is an irrational act that demeans the superb reality of the rational individual human being?
Were we to stop our analysis at this juncture, that might indeed be the inexorable conclusion. But it would be a partial and basically wrong conclusion. We can recover the full degree of the dignity of our rationality as soon as we look at metaphysics through new eyes.
VI. A Hint of Metaphysics
Metaphysics is in such a sorry state these days that it has almost disappeared from the list of mental disciplines worthy of any attention. Yet, the sorry state in which metaphysics has fallen is not an indication of what metaphysics actually is. Metaphysics is the study of Being. And indeed, from Plato onward much thought has been spent on this concept as well as on the characteristics of Being. The reality is that Being is a dialectic concept;(10) hence one can begin to understand Being only as soon as one starts to pay serious attention to the concept of not-Being. It is not by chance perhaps that, through the intervention of Buddha, the concept of not-Being was born in the East at about the same time that the concept of Being was born in the West.
With or without knowledge of developments in the East, the world of thought has been polarized between these two concepts. Separate, they provide only confusion and dissension, just as any other dichotomy creates only confusion and dissention, because they lead to circular reasoning; hence, the need for the search for a third term in the analysis. It is together that Being and not-Being begin to offer some enlightenment. Formally, one can begin to understand Being by realizing that everything is included in it—even not-Being; alternatively, one can say that nothing is excluded from Being—not even not-Being.
Worse still than trying to keep Being separate from not-Being has been the attempt in the West to specify the reality of Being through the elaboration of two abstractions: essence and substance,(11) and the link between these concepts—and to us human beings—represented by the variegated meanings of the word “relation.”(12) The philosophical discussion has gradually become so intractable that the entire investigation of the metaphysical project has been nearly completely abandoned in the modern world.
This is not an inescapable existential condition. Separate in-depth investigations by this writer have convinced him that the road to intellectual sanity lies first in the concentration on two additional forms of the metaphysical reality in which we are immersed: Becoming and Existence. And then by combining these three elements through the familiar diagram, in this fashion:
Figure 3. Relational Ontology
We thus have all the tools to reconstruct the bare bones of metaphysics. Here three sets of observations suffice. As the most impellent question, is this supreme, absolute, all-powerful, all-knowledgeable Being rational in becoming existence? We have no way of determining that—and if we were to determine it one way or the other we would be limiting this infinite Being: a clear impossibility. What can be determined for sure is that any form of Existence is entirely rational in wanting to return to Being. (This is more than a rational supposition. It is a fact. Simply exclude volition, and the return of Existence to Being becomes a sheer incontrovertible fact.) In the end, it is in this third entity, Existence, in its relation to Being, that we reach the deepest understanding of our life: While Being is, was, and will be forever, we as transient and transitory human beings exist in Being.
And it is within the realm of the equivalence relation that we Christians reach the deepest possible meaning of the Trinity: Christ at one moment in history (and the Spiritual Christ forever) joins us in our existence (we have absolutely no human indication, and we might never have any indication, of what was that relationship outside of time, outside the creation of the cosmos); he assumes our human characteristics; and at the same time we join him, because, as Scripture (Colossians 1:16) says “In him everything in heaven and on earth was created, things visible and invisible. All were created through him; all were created for him.” A father would do that for a son. (And are we not all sons of God? God did all that for us. God does all that for us all.)
(I never truly believed in the doctrine of the Original Sin, until I pondered upon the words I have just written. Somehow I thought it was a priestly fib, an invention to try to explain the mystery of our human nature to “the masses.” I was particularly incensed when this doctrine was reduced to the unholy misconception of equating sin with sex. With his splendiferous Theology of the Body, Pope John Paul disabused us of that misconception. And yet, unless mistaken, that misconception still taints the dogma of the Immaculate Conception of Mary. That is work still to be done. But what is the conception of original sin, then? The original sin, a sin that originally started with Adam and Eve, is a sin that is continued in us and is enveloped in the perpetuation of our willful separation from the Garden of Eden, from the full enjoyment of the fruits of Heaven, because of our mistaken belief—as an exercise of our pride—that we can ever separate ourselves from God.)
VII. Concluding Comments
Boethius, St. Thomas Aquinas, and all fervent religious persons have accepted the reality of the Trinity on the basis of faith and obedience to the Magisterium of the Church. In their arrogance, instead, the makers and the followers of the Enlightenment have discovered in the Trinity only a series of paradoxes, which they have resolved by separating church and state and by trying to exclude the power of God from human affairs.(13) The Enlightenment has resulted in the state religions of Nazism, Communism, and the Mixed Economy. Using the relation of equivalence, we have found no intellectual paradoxes in the Trinity—and we can also hint at the resolution of the church-state conflict by recovering the age-old economic justice project, which stubbornly aims to limit the power of the state to a few essential functions while attributing innate economic rights and responsibilities to each human being.(14) Using the relation of equivalence, we have confirmed the logical validity of the relationships among the three persons of the Trinity that were ever so gradually and painstakingly discovered by the “old time religion.” Using the relation of equivalence, we have reached a better intellectual understanding of the individuality of each person of the Trinity and the concept of the One Divinity as a whole, the Triune God. Yet, a better understanding is a far cry from a perfect understanding. To be thorough, all possible questions, if one begins to formulate them, and all possible answers, multiply in such a way as to make one’s head spin in a never-ending circular motion. It is the bosom of realism to surrender to the confounding power of the Divinity, accept that we are a very tiny part of this Absolute Immensity, and admit that it is wholly rational—wholly wise—to try to reach a mystical union with God.
In 1946 Einstein remarked: “The unleashed power of the atom has changed everything save our modes of thinking.” (15) With the rational acceptance of the equivalence of three persons of the Triune God and the extension of this relation to envelop the unity of “Being Becoming Existence,” our modes of thinking about Existence change. And then potentially everything changes. From the linear world of Cartesian logic and rationalism, the seed is thrown to transform again everything into the organic world in which everything is indeed related to everything else. Above all, we discover that God is not dead. People ask, where is God? There is where the living God is: God is everywhere; God is with the just; God is with the unjustly afflicted; God is with the unjustly oppressed. There is where the living God is. If theologians cast their conception of the Triune God into the framework of the equivalence relation they get a step closer to logicians and mathematicians who consistently use this framework of analysis in their everyday operations, and then, with time, the warlike relation between the “two cultures”—with its multifarious manifestations of reductionism, materialism, and atheism, and, above all, mutual misunderstandings—will, through mutual adjustments, unavoidably come to a screeching halt. The hard sciences are not the fount of all certainty. If there is such a thing as certainty, it exists within the realm of theology and philosophy as well. After all, it was Einstein who said: “Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind.”(16)
There are many indications that the world of linear, rational, Cartesian logic has come to an end—see, e.g., John Lukacs, At the End of an Age(17) or Morris Kline, Mathematics: The Loss of Certainty.(18) This is a world in which reality is reduced to isolated atoms. This is the world of punctilionism, the defense to the death of one’s small point isolated form the rest of the universe. To escape this abyss of linear, rational logic we have to get into the world of relationalism, a world in which everything is naturally related to everything else. The “old time religion” it turns out has room for improvement; yet, even as it was, it was much better than state and secular religion. This paper has used the principle of equivalence to present a rational explanation of the relationships that link the three persons of the Triune God among themselves to form One Divinity. In the process, we have ever so lightly touched upon metaphysics in order to link the existence of God the Son to the existence of us human beings. That is the seed for the eventual development of a full relational theology.
Unless this writer is totally conceited and totally misconceives history, in common language the search for relational theology is the search for the living God; in philosophical language, it is the search for Thomist realism.(19)
- Douglas C. Hall, The Trinity: An Analysis of St. Thomas Aquinas’ Expositio of the De Trinitate of Boethius (Leiden, New York, Koln: E. J. Brill, 1992).
- Carmine Gorga, “Toward the Definition of Economic Rights,” Journal of Markets and Morality, 2:1, pp. 88-101, 1999. Md. and Oxford: University Press of America, 2002.
- Carmine Gorga, The Economic Process: An Instantaneous Non-Newtonian Picture (Lanham, Md. and Oxford: University Press of America, 2002). An expanded edition of this work is in press.
- Carmine Gorga, “Concordian Economics: Tools to Return Relevance to Economics,” Forum for Social Economics 38, 1, 53-69 (2009). Available online in cyber format at www.somist.org and in soft cover at www.createspace.com/3350635.
- Carmine Gorga, “On the Equivalence of Matter to Energy and to Spirit,” Transactions on Advanced Research 3, 2, 40-47 (2007).
- E.g., John 1:1; John 8:14-29; John 10:30.
- Pope Ratzinger, Joseph (Pope Benedict XVI), Jesus of Nazareth. New York: Doubleday, 2007.
- Joseph Kaipayil, personal communication, Mar 7, 2008.
- Cf. note 5 above.
- See esp. Benedetto Croce, Logic as the Science of the Pure Concept (London: Macmillan, 1917).
- See esp. Gilson, Etienne, Being and Some Philosophers. Toronto, Canada: Pontifical Institute of Medieval Studies; 2nd edition, 1952.
- See, e.g., LeRon F. Shults, Reforming Theological Anthropology: After the Philosophical Turn to Relationality (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2003).
- Mark Lilla, The Stillborn God: Religion, Politics, and the Modern West (New York, NY: Knopf, 2007).
- See note 4 above.
- Albert Einstein. Quoted in Nathan O., and Norden, H. (eds), Einstein on Peace, p. 376 (New York: Avnet Books, 1981)and a pamphlet published by Beyond War in 1985 entitled A New Way of Thinking.
- Albert Einstein, ‘Science, Philosophy and Religion: a Symposium’ (1941). In The Quotation Page at http://www.quotationspage.com/quote/24949.html.
- John Lukacs, At the End of an Age (New Haven and London: YaleUniversity Press, 2002).
- Morris Kline, Mathematics: The Loss of Certainty (New York: Oxford University Press, 1980).
- The author wishes to acknowledge the technical assistance received from his long-standing collaborator, Louis J. Ronsivalli, an MIT food science technologist, and a most positive feedback from Dr. F. Hadi Madjid, a Harvard physicist. This presentation has greatly benefited from comments by Michael C. Jordan on an earlier draft of this paper.