If God is One, how can God also be “three” at the same time? This is one of the main theological sticking points among the three Abrahamic religions. Accusations of disingenuousness at best and polytheism at worst have been leveled at the Christian viewpoint for millennia. So how did the doctrine of the trinity become one of the main foundational tenants of Christianity, despite the fact that it isn’t explicitly mentioned in scripture? To answer that question, we must first continue to travel through the world of duality.
Jesus did not teach that man should try to be as solitary God, a priori. He taught that man should strive to be “perfect as your Father is perfect…” – “Perfect in one,” as Jesus described the Father and the Son to be perfectly one. But He saw that because man is of both God-strands of will, he must act under the compulsion of each: thus he must come to lay down his life willingly, under no compulsion, as a priori God willingly laid down His life, and he must also pick it up again as did God become One everlastingly committed to life, action, and the freedom in consciousness to decide what one’s life will be.
Preston Harold now turns to Viktor Frankl and his pioneering psychological work he called “Logotherapy” to explore the question of whether or not human beings are possessed of free will; of whether they really have freedom in consciousness to decide what their lives will be.
Viktor Frankl…writes, “There is nothing conceivable that would so condition a man as to leave him without the slightest freedom Therefore, a residue of freedom, however limited it may be, is left to man in neurotic and even psychotic cases. Indeed, the innermost core for the patient’s personality is not even touched by a psychosis.” He sees that the individual personality remains essentially unpredictable – “In other words, man is ultimately self-determining. Man does not simply exist, but always decides what his existence will be, what he will become in the next moment. By the same token, “every human being has the freedom to change at any instant….” He recognizes that man is a finite being, and that “his freedom is restricted. It is not freedom from conditions, but freedom to take a stand towards conditions…” – in suffering, for example, “what matters above all is the attitude in which we take our suffering upon ourselves.” Thus, “In a word, each man is questioned by life; and he can only answer to life by answering for his own life; to life he can only respond by being responsible. Thus logotherapy sees in responsibleness the very essence of human existence.”
Thus, in answer to the ancient argument as to whether man’s will is bound or free comes to rest in the answer that it is both and neither – it is the will of a responsible creature, self-determining his attitude toward life and what he will make of his own life in any condition in which he finds himself or that may be imposed upon him.
Just as Jesus saw that in order for a man to fulfill his desire to express Selfhood, his will must transcend itself and become as the will of the Father, so Frankl sees that “self-actualization cannot be attained if it is made an end in itself, but only as a side effect of self-transcendence.”
It is out of this duality that a third aspect ultimately arises. Preston Harold concludes:
If man is empowered of and by the two aspects of God – which may be seen as Self-actualization and Self-transcendence – a concept based upon duality should suffice. But duality evokes the third aspect of being, so that one must come to grips with the trinity principle. In life, it involves man, woman and child – in the physical realm, positive negative, and neutral energy – in theology it gives rise to that most baffling of trinities: the mystery of Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. What is the Holy Ghost? And why must it be?
Why must it indeed? We will begin to look at the reasons for the Holy Ghost’s existence beginning in our next post. Until then, peace.