Religious Pluralism is a term used to designate more than just mutual acceptance and peaceful co-existence among different religions. The Integral Pluralist worldview is that the major religions are, to a large extent, just different ways of looking at the same God. Religious variety can be a wonderful source of cultural stimulus, when religious beliefs are looked at in a comprehensive context which recognizes the differences, but integrates their best attitudes in an inclusive framework.
Our world has a lamentable legacy of bloody wars in the name of religion and religious exclusivism. The challenge of relations among peoples of different religions has been made very clear by the Twin Towers event of September 11, 2001 and its global aftermath. Nevertheless, as religious communities and as growing nations, our futures are inextricably linked, being joined at the hip so to speak. We must develop a truly multi-cultural, multi-religious society in order to get along.
In the past, religious misunderstandings have caused immense grief, but civilization is rapidly approaching the point where the very survival of the world depends on overcoming anti-social religious conflicts, and the negative impacts of increasing population on the planet. The human race can no longer afford religious strife that divides people and disturbs urgent cooperation on mutual issues such as conservation and sharing of resources, combating climate change, stimulating healthy economic growth, etc.
Peace in the world requires peace among religions. Integral religious pluralism is a necessary paradigm shift whose time has come.
This book shows that an abstract version of the Trinity is an excellent metaphysical vehicle for a new form of Religious Pluralism that is systematically inclusive, universally moral, and highly synchronized with the world's three basic underlying religious attitudes to the Absolute; as well as totally unified, through the systemic metaphysical necessity of synthesis, and the principle of the unity of all truth.
In a constructive worldview: east, west, and far-east religions present a threefold understanding of One God manifest primarily in Muslim and Hebrew intuition of the Deity Absolute Creator, Christian and Krishnan Hindu conception of the Universe Absolute Supreme Being; and Shaivite Hindu, Buddhist, Taoist apprehension of the Destroyer (meaning also Consummator) - Unconditioned Absolute Spirit of All That Is. Together with their variations and combinations in other major religions, these religious ideas reflect and express our collective understanding of God, in an expanded concept of the Holy Trinity, embracing three fundamental human attitudes.
The Trinity Absolute is an exciting new narrative of Religious Pluralism. A flag of peace through multi-dimensional unity, planted in an exhaustive analysis of past and present major religions and philosophies. Religious Pluralism based on the Trinity Absolute could be a providential paradigm for mutual understanding and world peace, just waiting to be discovered or rediscovered, and activated.
This is not a new religion, but a glorification and renewal of the old religions, demonstrating a natural circumincession or procession in the systematic unity of the core values at the spirit-heart of all the major religions of the world. Jesus came to proclaim spiritual liberty, encouraging free personality and spiritual originality, within the broad limitations of spiritual unity. Christianity and Hinduism have brought us a basically threefold multi-dimensional concept of God. But, just as Jesus/Krishna may be regarded as the universal Supreme Being, so Buddha/Lao Tzu may be seen as apostles of the mysterious Holy Ghost or Infinite Spirit, and Muhammad/Moses as messengers of the almighty Creator.
Integral religious pluralism is epitomized in the view that all major religions are just different perspectives on the same God. This research paper documents ample evidence to show that, in an expanded understanding of the Trinity, this common sense idea is quite true. For the sake of all, it deserves to be taken seriously, as a potential blueprint for peace, whether or not we can ever really "prove" that it is true. As the great idealist philosopher Immanuel Kant put it, practical reason requires us to "act as if God exists."
For it is not God (whose will it may however be), but pure reason that gives us the prime moral directive, which boils down to: Act only as you would have everybody act. At the same time, practical reason tells us that it is only from the rational systematic unity of One God (creating all humankind equal); that we know unequivocally that morality must take a universal view.
Check It Out! Let's give peace a chance. Perhaps, we have nothing to lose but our inconsistencies. Please leave your thoughts for the Bulletin Board on my e-mail at the end of this Preview, or on the Contact page.
DIVERSITY OF RELIGIONS ROOTED IN THE DIVERSITY OF THE DIVINE LIFE
God seems to have manifested himself through several historic messengers. We've learned that no single point of view is the complete truth. However, there must be some metaphysical systematic unity in these teachings, because ultimately all truth (including science) must be part of the explanation of the creation, as we grow to understand it.
Pluralism claims that religious differences are best seen as the ways in which different cultures have perceived and interpreted those messages and representatives of God. However, the religions which have sprung from them are not necessarily the perception of many different Gods. It is rather more likely that the One and Same God may pervade most of them, casting multiple expressions of his multi-dimensional nature.
Religious pluralism is premised on the significance of real spiritual differences as a source of vibrancy and strength - same God, but slightly different flavors and distinct characteristics. Pluralism is the engagement not the abandonment of distinctions. Pluralism leads to a less myopic view of one's own religion. Other religions hold a piece of the puzzle called diversity. Pluralism looks for the musical harmonics of distinct tones in a symphony of beliefs, not uniformity, but a polyphonic melody.
Pluralism means diversity, genuine respect, interfaith dialogue, and accepting other major religions as valid/legitimate - not coercion, not compulsion, nor indiscriminate indifference to other truths. Religious variety provides a pleasant respite from the monotony of too much uniformity. Diversity is healthy and something to be celebrated. As well as being democratic, Pluralism also has the virtue of being a universal moral worldview.
Realistically, as the world becomes more and more religiously and culturally diverse, we will have no choice but to practice pluralism in order to avoid a "clash of civilizations" over what amounts to a possibly preventable and ultimately correctable misunderstanding.
At the dawn of the 21st century, nature (climate change) and human events (religious and economic warfare) have reached a perfect storm. But, we need to "clean up our act" morally, before we can do it physically. In order to combat the breakdown of civilization, we need to curb endless cycles of heartless attack and ruthless retaliation, in conflicts over ideology. We need to construct or reconstruct, a new alliance of Religious Pluralism based on a "new deal" for the people of all major religions. This could be a religious and social contract of spiritual respect and freedom, based on the pluralistic spirit of One God evident in three natural groupings of mainstream religions, united in their underlying metaphysics.
Despite apparent differences, the fundamental similarities among religions, strongly suggests the possibility that they may all represent merely different facets of one multi-dimensional cosmic reality. Then, by the principle of the unity of truth, all the diverse parts of truth must fit into a compatible whole. There must be some form of creative pluralism or constructive interpretation that will allow all groups to agree to a "minimal consensus" of shared beliefs in a systematic unity.
Mere toleration is too fragile a foundation for a world of religious differences in close proximity. It does nothing to unite people, and leaves in place the stereotypes and fears that underlie old patterns of division and violence. In the world in which we live today, our elitism and ignorance of one another will be increasingly costly. If the interactions of society are to be at all a rational process, some set of principles must motivate the general participation of religious groups in the oneness of the community, without hindering the maintenance by each group of its own personal spiritual identity.
Recently, a number of theologians have suggested that the Trinity may provide the key to an inclusive theology of religions, and a new understanding of religious diversity. The doctrine of the Trinity can function as a metaphysical "architectonic principle" to unlock the providential purpose and meaning of religious variety, in the portrayal of the multi-dimensional nature of God.
A deeper understanding of the Trinity might include a synthesis of all that God has revealed of himself, as contained in the wisdom of all the world's major religions. Thus, an abstract version of the Trinity could be Christianity's answer to the world need for a divine structure and language of pluralistic theology.
If in the beginning, God said "Let us make man in our image" (Gen. 1:26); then later on, he might also have said "Let us help humans make their religions in our image." Indeed, if the Trinity concept is correct, it is quite probable that the inspiration for different human religions reflects particular expressions of the triune manifestation of One God. On the face of it, God may be telling us something about his multi-dimensional self, through the diversity of major religions, which can be seen to fall into three basic attitudes to (or perspectives on) the Divine.
HYBRID PERSPECTIVES ON THE TRINITY
Based on the abstract concept of Trinity given by Immanuel Kant's classification of transcendental ideas, including the unconditioned, under "three absolutes of unity," this overview presents a synopsis of related perspectives discussed in detail later in this Preview (see Comparative Views on the Trinity).
1) A Buddhist-Christian View highlights frequently quoted Buddha statements that Nirvana consciousness is "the unconditioned state," to which he refers often in the "neither one extreme, nor the other, but a middle" way of speaking distinctive of Buddhists. Shows how this is analogous to the third idea or expression of the Trinity, which is "neither the Father, nor the Son," but the unconditionally united Spirit of both.
2) A Zen-Taoist View further expands on Buddhism, bringing in the undifferentiated Tao or Great Way, which is highly comparable to the unconditioned. Suggests that this unconditioned third coordinate closes the metaphysical circle of creation, and thus the Trinity is a philosophical inevitability. Appeals to Zen satori "Nothingness," or rather undifferentiated consciousness, as a mode of intuiting the mysterious third persona (the Holy Ghost), who is neither transcendent nor immanent, but "All That Is" (and is not).
3) A Quantum Physics View notes quantum theory and evidence of quantum fluctuations of "entangled" particle pairs, appearing sometimes ex nihilo (out of nothing), in complementary states such as: positive and negative, on and off, 1 and 0, etc. These combined states are only determined in a final measurement, which by entanglement rules also determines (reveals) their coordinates. Notes that the "qubit" (1&0) in quantum computing may represent the undetermined complement (neither 1 nor 0, but both), and suggests this is analogous to the Unconditioned dimension of the Trinity.
4) A Panentheist-Christian View defines panentheism as all in God. Argues this is what St. Paul was preaching about in the Bible (being "in Christ" not just in church). Names many recognized authorities who argue for concepts of the Universe Absolute Allperson, World-Soul, or Supreme Being (as the second person of the Trinity).
5) A Hindu View notes that major tenets of the Hindu religion are highly analogous to Trinitarian, Christian, and Panentheist views; as well as overlapping with Buddhism.
6) A Muslim View argues that statements in the Qur'an and Muslim traditions tend to confirm the Religious Pluralist view, and add to our understanding of the "second coming." Points out that in the Qur'an (4:171 and 5:73), Allah through Mohammad condemns not the abstract concept of One God in the Christian Trinity, but rather polytheism and the ancient carnal trinity of Father/Mother/Son (see Qur'an 5:116).
7) A Religious Pluralist View notes that the Trinity Absolute is a systematic unity reflected in religions, demonstrated in science, echoed in psychology, and composed in Three Absolutes of Creation. Concludes that this abstract concept of Trinity is an excellent paradigm for a coherent understanding of One God, and potential world peace, expressed through integral religious pluralism - which is simply the view that major religions are just different ways of looking at the same God.
AN ABSTRACT DEFINITION OF TRINITY
In his Critique of Pure Reason dealing with the fundamentals of metaphysics, Immanuel Kant (1724-1804) gave an abstract definition of the Trinity which should have attracted much more attention than it has. Kant argued that all transcendental ideas arrange themselves in three classes or absolutes: (1) the absolute unity of the thinking subject - the I am or Primal Being; (2) the absolute unity of the series of an appearance - the manifold object or Supreme Being; (3) the absolute unity of all objects of thought in general - the unconditioned synthesis of the one subject and the manifold object of all appearances, i.e. All That Is or the Being of All Beings.
"All the relations of our representations, of which we can form either a concept or an idea, are threefold: 1) The relation to the subject (condition); 2) The relation to the manifold of the object in appearance (conditioned); 3) The relation of all things in general (unconditioned)... It follows that all transcendental ideas arrange themselves in three classes: the first of which contains the absolute unity of the thinking subject (the condition); the second the absolute unity of the series of the appearance (the conditioned); the third, the absolute unity of all objects of thought in general ... the thing (the unconditioned) which contains the highest condition of the possibility of all that is capable of being thought." Critique of Pure Reason - I. Kant, P.A333/B390.
"The manifold nature of things is only an infinitely various mode of limiting the concept of the highest reality, which is their common substratum... The object of the ideal of reason - an object existing only in reason itself - is also termed the Primal Being; as having no existence superior to him, the Supreme Being; and as being the condition of all other beings, which rank under it, the Being of all Beings." Critique of Pure Reason - I. Kant, P.A578/B606.
Immanuel Kant seems to have been the first to articulate the concept of the Three Absolutes of Unity (Potentiality or Creation), and the first to define the Being of all Beings as "all that is." Taken altogether in consistently abstract terms, Kant's description of the three classes of transcendental ideas may be summarized as the relationship of three metaphysical absolutes of unity - the essence of the Trinity Absolute, i.e.:
1. That absolute unity which is the condition of a categorical synthesis in an ideal thinking subject - the Primal Being or existential Deity Absolute (transcendent).
2. That absolute unity which is the conditioned hypothetical synthesis in a series or sum total manifold object of all mundane appearances - the Supreme Being or experiential Universe Absolute (immanent).
3. That absolute unity which is the unconditioned disjunctive synthesis of the existential and experiential realms in a systematic unity of All That Is - the Being of All Beings. The ultimate Unconditioned Absolute (transcendent/immanent, spiritual/material being), or Absonite Consummation - neither Absolutely infinite, nor absolutely finite.
THE TRINITY ABSOLUTE
The research gathered in this book shows how the major religions of the world map directly onto the Holy Trinity, when considered in the abstract absolute form it naturally exhibits; i.e. the Trinity Absolute. Indeed, One God is craftily hidden in his creation.
Trinity Absolute provides the most readily-available all-inclusive language for speculating on systematic unity in matters of metaphysics and religion. This abstract understanding is of some urgency, for a truly democratic settlement of this world into a universal civilization, constructed on the highest ideas and concepts of all our basic religions and cultures - our common world heritage.
These "divine ideas" are individualized, personalized and conserved in the concept of the three fundamental personae of One God, reflected in the world's three basic underlying personal mental and spiritual attitudes to the Absolute. Taken in their over-lapping teachings, world religions articulate the members of the Trinity in an absolutely elegant, universally good, and truly beautiful portrait - the Soul of One God.
In a rational pluralistic worldview, major religions may be said to reflect the psychology of One God in three basic personalities, slightly different but potentially united in spirit, and universal in mind - analogous to the traditional definition of the Trinity. In fact, there is much evidence that the psychologies of world religions reflect the unity of One God in an absolute Trinity.
We don't have to invent anything, because it is readily acknowledged that Allah, Abba or Father (as Jesus called Him), and Brahma are religious representations of the Creator. But the Creator is the first Absolute person of the Trinity of the thrice-personal One God. So in at least one respect, we can say that a large portion of humankind apparently worship the same God - the Deity Absolute Creator - reflected in three world religions: Islam, Christianity, and Hinduism. This pluralistic worldview becomes inclusive if you consider that Buddhism, Confucian-Taoism, Shinto, and some other major religions seem to be variations on the third Absolute, while certain others, e.g. Sikh, Baha'i, Zoroastrian, etc., suggest combinations.
The loving parallel between the Christian and Krishnan religions in their perception of the Universe Absolute Supreme Being (Son/Krishna) as the "gestalt" of personal consciousness - that allsoul, oversoul, or supersoul of all souls ("in Christ") - which will be the Mahdi/Messiah/Maitreya, foreshadowed in the various religious teachings of the second coming, etc.; is too well-known to bear repeating. (Nevertheless, I try to recite it in new ways - see below).
Based on the three distinct psychological attitudes to the Absolute evident in religious teachings, it is possible to predict the eventuation of an ultimate "minimal consensus" of world religions on the conceptual identity of the Christian Spirit of the Holy Ghost, Muslim Angels and Jinn, Hindu Destroyer/Consummator, Buddha's middle way of the "Unconditioned" (Nirvana), and Lao Tzu's ultimate great way of the yin and yang (Tao) - even the Unconditioned Absolute Spirit of Destiny Consummation.
In taking onboard the Buddhist idea of the Unconditioned or undifferentiated, and the early-Christian idea of the Supreme or panentheism (both echoed in ancient Hinduism); we begin to see that in a rational pluralistic worldview, major religions do reflect the psychology of One God in three basic personalities, of exquisitely related spirit, and universal rational mind - analogous to the traditional definition of the Trinity. In fact, there is much evidence that the psychologies of world religions reflect the unity of One God in an absolute Trinity.
The Trinity Absolute is portrayed in the logic of world religions, as follows:
1. Muslims and Jews may be said to worship only the first person of the Trinity, i.e. the existential Deity Absolute Creator, known as Allah or Yhwh, Abba or Father (as Jesus called him), Brahma, and other names; represented by Gabriel (Executive Archangel), Muhammad and Moses (mighty messenger prophets), and others.
2. Christians and Krishnan Hindus may be said to worship the first person through a second person, i.e. the experiential Universe or "Universal" Absolute Supreme Being (Allsoul or Supersoul), called Son/Christ or Vishnu/Krishna; represented by Michael (Supreme Archangel), incarnated in Jesus (teacher and savior of souls), and reflected by others. The Allsoul is that gestalt of personal human consciousness, which we expect will be the "body of Christ" (Mahdi, Messiah, Kalki or Maitreya) in the second coming - personified in history by Muhammad, Jesus Christ, Buddha (9th incarnation of Vishnu), and others.
3. Shaivite Hindus, Buddhists, and Confucian-Taoists seem to venerate the synthesis of the first and second persons in a third person or appearance, ie. the Destiny Consummator of ultimate reality - unqualified Nirvana consciousness - associative Tao of All That Is. This third identity is the absonite* Unconditioned Absolute Spirit "Synthesis of Source and Synthesis,"** who/which is logically expected to be Allah/Abba/Brahma glorified in and by union with the Supreme Being - represented in religions by Gabriel, Michael, and other Archangels, Mahadevas, Spiritpersons, etc., who may be included within the mysterious Holy Ghost.
Other strains of religion seem to be psychological variations mostly on the third person, or possibly combinations and permutations of the members of the Trinity - all just different personality perspectives on the same God. Taken altogether, these three attitudes to the absolute embodied in the world's major religions give us at least two insights into the first person of this thrice-personal One God, two perceptions of the second person, and at least three glimpses of the third.
* The ever-mysterious Holy Ghost or Unconditioned Spirit is neither absolutely infinite, nor absolutely finite, but absonite; meaning neither existential nor experiential, but their ultimate consummation; neither fully ideal nor totally real, but a middle path and grand synthesis of the proto-conscious and the super-conscious, in consciousness of the unconscious. This "3D Ultra High Definition" concept of the Holy Ghost gives a stereoscopic view composed of three colourful supporting images or expressions of the Holy Spirit, i.e.: the Hindu Destiny Destroyer/Consummator, the Buddhist "Unconditioned" Spirit of Nirvana, and the neo-Confucian Tao of All That Is (and is not) - synthesis of yin and yang.
** This conception is so strong because somewhat as the Absonite Spirit is a synthesis of the spirit of the Absolute and the spirit of the Supreme, so it would seem that the evolving Supreme Being may himself also be a synthesis or "gestalt" of humanity with itself, in an Almighty Universe Allperson or Supersoul. Thus ultimately, the Absonite is their Unconditioned Absolute Coordinate Identity - the Spirit Synthesis of Source and Synthesis - the metaphysical Destiny Consummator of All That Is.
The above definition and personification of the TRINITY ABSOLUTE is refreshing because the Trinity concept and its reflection in world religions are discussed in universal terms unencumbered by specifically Christian dogma. Nevertheless, it is edifying because it ties in so well with the Holy Trinity expression of One God.
THE SPIRIT OF RELIGIOUS PLURALISM
While admitting that it is a simple construct of pure reason, and that it is not even particularly original, I argue that this new narrative of RELIGIOUS PLURALISM has a certain logical inevitability to it, because it is the "only adequate metaphysical vehicle" for a much-needed new universal social contract of pure and practical reason. And also because it is based on a "constructive interpretation" of World Religions, using the very "core beliefs" which are affirmed in their own theologies, to demonstrate an expanded concept of the Trinity, which also rings true with psychology, philosophy, and science.
Why Trinity? - Because there is no other readily available adequate metaphysical vehicle to fill the need for a common language in religion and metaphysics. "The meeting of religions cannot take place on neutral territory or in a 'no man's land' because it is scarcely possible to speak of these subjects from outside one or another tradition, for it is these very traditions that have the determining terminology." (Raimundo Pannikar).
While admitting that I have deliberately selected evidence in support of a new image of Religious Pluralism in the Trinity Absolute, I contend that this Trinity is self-evidently coherent, consistent, comprehensive, and consummate - qualities which are usually regarded as a good test of closeness to true knowledge. Perhaps I've argued away many differences, and ignored some others, but I have not falsified the record, nor pushed the evidence into any shape it did not already want to go.
If the concept of One God embodied in the Trinity Absolute is true, then it should be able to stand on its own feet with the necessary breadth and gravitas to provide what Plato called a sufficient "rational account" (what Kant called a transcendental deduction), explaining even creation ex nihilo. But the Trinity Absolute is creation out of nothing but the idea or "notion" of itself in the three Absolutes of potentiality, and their reflection in human psychology, philosophy, religion, and science! Ergo, it very well could be the necessary metaphysical formula philosophers have been looking for.
"Made in God's image" is the answer to the need for systematic unity, rational integrity, and an adequate vehicle of creation. From Kant we know that all the "transcendental concepts of the understanding" can be subsumed under three "absolutes of unity," as he called them; and we take it from Hegel that the Absolute is the highest of its kind, and the highest of all kinds is God.
Jung (the panentheist) maintained that we are all related as brothers and sisters of a "common" inner experience - part of what he called the "collective unconscious."
Freud (the atheist) confused the collective unconscious even superconsciousness of the Allsoul, with the conscience of the individual, which he misnamed the superego.
However, the indwelling "superego" must be something like a prepersonal spirit "thought adjuster," not another ego trying to dominate or usurp the human personality. Therefore, it must not be confused with the personality of the Supersoul. It is the spirit that advises the individual personal ego. It is a spark of the Holy Spirit, as well as of the Allsoul (who inform each other); and an overplus of the spirit of the Deity Absolute, who is the primal creator personality (with whom they resonate).
As an ultimate metaphysical necessity of unity, this indwelling superconscious pre-personal spirit endowment is essentially part of the subtly different but united spirit that is present not just in the Deity Absolute, nor only in the Supreme Being, but "conjointly" in their Unconditioned Spirit, and "corporately" in their Trinity.
I reason that, "For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God… by adoption," (Rom. 8:14/15), then possibly my indwelling spirit is seeking personalization as some sort of new and original sub-divine correlate, of human participation in the Supreme Oversoul of all souls. Other times I feel the spirit of the Father, and sometimes the Spirit of both Son and Father together, as a single spiritual entity. And then, I see all three together in the Trinity of One God.
This was the Roman Stoic ideal of trying to find God and be like Him, later subsumed into early Christianity, but subsequently almost forgotten. Never entirely eclipsed, this idea has recently been called Panentheism (all in God), and propounded most brilliantly by Whitehead and Hartshorne, in connection with the conception of the World-soul or Allsoul as virtually identical with the supersoul or paramatman of the Vedic scriptures from ancient India (and other insights of "process panentheism").
My contribution has been merely to sort the teachings of the major religions into the three consistent groupings, suggested naturally by the preponderance and interconnectedness of their corresponding evidence, of an underlying unity. Of course, I went down many blind alleys, and kissed a lot of frogs, before arriving at a full-blown concept of the Trinity Absolute. But what began as a more or less random search for evidence of unity, led eventually to a highly articulated, systematic, existential/experiential/ unconditioned, triune metaphysical principle (and a library of evidence for it).
Starting with an abstract definition of the Trinity, I knew I was onto something, when it began to bear fruit in my studies, leading to an understanding of new (to me) systematic levels of both differentiation and integration, out of and into primordial pure practical reason, reflecting on religion, philosophy, psychology, science, and all that is.
I discovered that destruction is joined with consummation in Shaivite Hinduism - Siva - the Destiny Destroyer/Consummator. Then, I realized that the whole Zen/Greek dialogue about what Buddha called the "Unconditioned" state of Nirvana (neither being, nor not-being, but becoming - neither condition, nor conditioned, but unconditioned - neither one nor many, but all) is entirely analogous to the Christian Spirit or Holy Ghost; who is neither the spirit of the Deity Absolute, nor the spirit of the Supreme, but their glorified Consummate Spirit of All That Is "proceeding" from them both.
At the same time, I could see how tightly these teachings fit with the Neo-Confucian Tao (Way) of the yin and yang, and how the Tao equally differentiates as well as encircles (integrates) the thesis and antithesis, in their synthesis.
As I found more and more confirmation in books of philosophy and religion, I began to think that God is telling us something systematic in all the revelations, and glimmers of revelation, which he has inspired in us down through history. And then, I was swallowed by the subject I set out to study. I'm still trying to express what this "something systematic" is, but I am also drawn to the "mechanics" of becoming worthy of fuller participation in the Allsoul, and what that means (see e-mail Contact button at the end of this book preview).
All major religions and creation itself cohere in the Trinity of the three Absolutes of creation: Deity Absolute Creator, Universe Absolute Supreme Being, and Unconditioned Absolute Spirit. The Trinity is One God, universal in mind and united in spirit, but especially personalized in three dramatis personae, faces, phases, facets, expressions, counterparts, co-relatives, cohorts, co-partners, coordinates, or manifestations.
Again, the Trinity Absolute includes not just the spirit of the Deity Absolute, nor only the spirit of the Supreme, but also their Glorified Holy Spirit - originally precessing in, and ultimately proceeding from, their undifferentiated consummation. As already pointed out, the resolution of this "neither/nor" dichotomy may also be seen in the mystery of the Destroyer/Consummator, the "Unconditioned" state of Nirvana, and the Tao of yin/yang.
This abstract formulation of the Trinity is not just the Supreme Being, nor only the Absolute Creator, but also their Ultimate Spirit - all united in a threefold creative perichoresis "dance" or procession of joyously shared metaphysical creative necessity.
If we are entitled to speculate that one of the greatest expressions and strongest satisfactions of the Deity Absolute is "loving and being loved" by his co-equals in the Trinity, and his many "children by adoption;" then, as a matter of rational consistency (for our own, as well as for God's sake), we must postulate that the Trinity Absolute (or something very like it) approaches true knowledge of the Divine, manifest in a universal idea, upon which we all can stake our moral lives.
We must reciprocate (validate) by at least acting "as if" God's spirit-life is in us, and we are evolving actors as part of His/our Supreme Allsoul, as well as involved participants in the eventuation of Their/our ultimate destiny consummation. At least we can take some satisfaction in being on a universal "path with heart," even if perchance we don't personally reap in this life, the harvest of good providence, for which our commitment entitles us to hope.
Muslims and Jews seem to have a mutual psychological proclivity and preference for what can only be called the Deity Absolute Creator. Some fundamentalist Christians also believe in the absolute monarchy of God the Absolute - envisioned as the one and only Creator God, to whom all other beings are merely secondary "modes" or subordinate representatives, at best.
The believers in this fundamentalist view of what is admittedly a "multi-dimensional" God, should be encouraged to continue worshipping the person of the Deity Absolute or Creator, but at the same time, they must be asked to acknowledge that Trinitarian Christians and Krishnan Hindus can also worship Him through devotion to His second persona - the Universe Absolute Supreme Being or Allsoul Preserver - and to recognize how well this fits with worship or homage directed to expressions of Their mysterious third persona - the Holy Ghost or Holy Spirit - envisioned by Shavite Hindus as a personal Destiny Destroyer/Consummator spirit, and by Buddhists as the neither personal nor impersonal Unconditioned Absolute spirit, and then again by Taoists as the pre-personal spirit of the Tao of All That Is. Different views - Same God.
The abstract Trinity Absolute is a philosophical inevitability, and a Christian rock on which to anchor religious pluralism. It is intuitively acceptable to far-eastern religions, but not yet rationally absorbed by middle-eastern monotheisms. Many fundamentalists cannot get over the elementary contradiction to unity presented by the Trinity's thesis (Creator) and antithesis (Universe Supreme Being); nor conceive of their synthesis (Unconditioned Spirit Consummation); nor entertain the systematic unity of all three, as a metaphysical necessity of creation.
"Monarchism," in the form of over-identification with the imposingly awesome Deity Absolute seems to be a natural psychological attitude of many Muslims, Jews, and some fundamentalist Christians (submission and reverence). This attitude has its counterpoint in the pronounced proclivity of many Christians, Krishnans, and others towards "devotionalism" or bhakti, rendered primarily to the apparently almighty Universe Absolute Supreme Allsoul or Supersoul (love and rationalization). Similarly, Shaivite Hindus, some Buddhists, Taoists, and others seem to venerate primarily the mystery of the seemingly ruthless Destiny Consummator, the indefinable Unconditioned Absolute, and the unspeakable Unqualified Tao or Spirit of All That Is ( respect and acceptance).
These three attitudes or modes of religious belief and worship - fundamentalism or monarchism (God is One), devotionalism or panentheism (All in God), and mysticism or pantheism (All is God) - are quite righteous and laudable views when taken in moderation, with respect to each other; but quite insupportable when taken exclusively and unblended.
Fundamentalist Christians, Muslims, Jews, and others must be asked to recognize the equal validity of other personalized views, which answer the metaphysical necessity that, in addition to subordinates and created beings, Allah or Yhwh must have at least two co-eternal, co-creative, co-equals. These can be called His universal absolute being, and Their unconditioned absolute spirit, because that is true in a personal sense. However, the fact is that the minimal necessary concept of cosmic creation ex nihilo is based on the interplay of three absolute dimensions of potential creative force (the three Absolutes of potentiality or creation), i.e.: the Deity Absolute, Universe Absolute, and Unconditioned Absolute.
This book shows that each of the major religions relates closely to one or the other of the members of the Trinity, such that an abstract concept of Trinity is an excellent paradigm for a coherent understanding of One God expressed through religious pluralism. When documented in detail, characteristic religious attitudes of parallel identification with individual persons of the Trinity are clear and distinct, which is usually regarded as a good test of truth. The rational goodness, moral attraction, and potential beauty of a system of belief that incorporates the best in all religions strongly suggests that such a comprehensive outlook avows multi-dimensional knowledge of God.
Meeting the demands of metaphysical science, this research paper demonstrates that there is a wonderful systematic unity to be found in the world's major religious reflections of God. Embracing also psychology and physics, this abstract conception is consummate, consistent, and coherent.
As a point of departure, this "constructive interpretation" presents a brief synopsis of new or renovated proofs and disproofs of God, reconciled and synthesized in a sublime proof, backed up out of all the most respected authorities, in the most inclusive philosophical research paper of its kind. The result is a well-rounded distillation of relevant philosophy packed into a curious and highly provocative construct of intellectual work, pointing to a definitive explanation of heaven, earth, and all that is - a "new narrative" of religious pluralism.
Absent any better idea, it would seem that this TRINITY ABSOLUTE concept of One God in three phases or personae is the only adequate metaphysical vehicle necessary and sufficient for a real form of religious pluralism that is more than just lukewarm toleration and talking past one another.
Religious Pluralism in the form of the Trinity is not trying to abrogate, but rather to assist all religions in metaphysically connecting and uniting their individual and collective ideas of God; so that they may rationally include themselves more fully in a multi-cultural community committed to universal values.
All religions can deepen their own understanding and strengthen their own communities, by looking at themselves and each other as different but related images of One God - multidimensional and manifest in the Trinity Absolute.
The ubiquitous triad, so notable in all the dimensions of physical nature, remains merely a curious coincidence, and a subject of mysterious mystical superstition; until clearly analogous relationships to world religions and human psychology are properly appreciated, completing the triune exposition, in all its natural significance.
The liberating concept of world religions as reflections of the members of the Trinity Absolute (and their variations or combinations) finds considerable support when the evidence is examined closely. The claim that pluralism is a metaphysical "blueprint for peace" is a logical truth, assuming that a pluralistic unity is possible, and not absurd.
The suggestion of a parallel between the personal relationships of the members of the Trinity, and the threefold psychological nature of the human soul is an illuminating reciprocal insight, with vast implications for the understanding of both God and humankind (assuming that humans are patterned on God). The perichoresis or intimate interplay of the three elements of the soul - personality/mind/spirit - is a logical extension, in analogy to the traditional Christian inspiration of the dynamics of the Holy Trinity. This breaks up the otherwise myopic "modalistic" view of these relationships.
The claim that this internal makeup of the human soul is part of the "only adequate metaphysical vehicle of creation" is elegant in its simplicity and outrageous in its implications of unity in plurality, up to and including all that is.
The Trinity is united in spirit, universal in mind, and three in personality.
God's nature reveals itself in the dynamic relations among the divines - the joyous parade and fascinating pageant of the free persons of the multi-dimensional Trinity, in a fellowship of interpenetrating personality interaction, and mutual threefold creativity.
The Trinity Absolute is about freewill religious and political pluralism, not exclusivism. Not one religion, but one world. Not one way, but one God. Not globalism, but internationalism. Not ghettos, but true multiculturalism. Religious pluralism, democracy, and a reformed (no-veto or limited-veto) United Nations under universal law (or something very like it) must be made to work. There is no practical substitute for building on what we've got, and good free will is all we need.
Like the individual personae of the Trinity, modern nations have the dignity of freewill persons in relation to each other, even though they depend ultimately on each other, being joined at the hip, so to speak. Some respect and reasonable accommodation are required.
If the threefold human soul - personality/mind/spirit - is modeled on the Trinity, then individual humans may inevitably have an innate predisposition to worship any one, any combination, or all of the persons of the Trinity. Some toleration is required.
The Bible says that there is no way to the Father, except through the Son, and implies that Jesus Christ will be the Supreme Judge of all human beings on "Judgment Day." However, it would only be fair if Christ shares that judgment seat with Muhammad or the Mahdi in the case of Muslims, Indra or Krishna for Hindus, Gautama or Maitreya for Buddhists, Lao-Tzu for Taoists, and so forth. Some just recognition is required.
Christians believe that a spark of the divine spirit of God indwells all humankind, and this is essentially the same spirit that is in the Father, in the Son, and glorified in the Holy Spirit of Father and Son. The Qur'an agrees that "the spirit of Allah is closer to you than your jugular vein." Hindus call it the "Purusha." Buddhists refer to it as the "Unconditioned." Neo-Confucians call it the "Tao." Spirit is the glue that binds.
Unity in religious plurality does the seemingly impossible - it "squares the circle" in a triumph of pure and practical reason, basing the necessary metaphysical foundation of itself on the various existential relationships of the Trinity, which are ultimately made out of nothing but the rational notion of each other, and the loving goodness of their being.
Together with the testimonies of philosophy, and the birthmarks of physical science; the arguments from echoes in psychology and reflections in world religions define and demonstrate the existence of the Trinity of One God, for most practical purposes.
Meditating on the existence and nature of God, human reason naturally and inevitably rises to a divine concept of universal pure practical moral duty, which requires freewill, and can only be perfected in a sequence of lives, with the help of God.
Includes, but is by no means limited to, the traditional interpretation of the Christian Trinity of Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, in an expanded conception. More than just a rational construct, the systematic unity of this comprehensive worldview authorizes us to stake our lives on the principle of universal morality - the one categorical imperative or Golden Rule (reconciled with universal utilitarian consequences) - and the three postulates of practical reason: freewill, God, and immortality.
COMPARATIVE VIEWS ON THE TRINITY
1) A Buddhist-Christian View - the "unconditioned"
By equally specious or fair-seeming arguments, the existence of God may be both proved and disproved. By the basic logic of the law of identity, contradiction, and the excluded middle: A is A, and thus the proposition that A is not-A is a contradiction which excludes any middle ground. The law is A and not-A cannot both be true at the same time and in the same respect. But this implies that A and not-A may both be true at different times, or even more significantly, at the same time in different respects, and thus the "middle" may not be entirely excluded.
For example, despite the obvious apparent contradiction, physicists have found that in some respects light may be regarded as a wave, subject to diffraction phenomena; and in other respects light behaves like a stream of particles, subject to quantum mechanics. Many believe that these two opposing views will eventually be united in a "grand unified theory of everything," which will resolve all such great dichotomies.
In general, thesis and antithesis may be reconciled in synthesis, unity and plurality are combined in totality, form and substance are conjoined in existence, etc. Likewise, the extremes of theology and physics - God and not-God - may both be true explanations of the cosmos, when looked at from different points of view. Similarly, the Neo-Confucian Tao or "Great Way" harmonizes the opposites of yin and yang, and the Buddhist "Middle Path" avoids the existential extremes (neither being, nor not-being).
"Everything exists: That is one extreme. Everything does not exist: That is a second extreme. Avoiding these two extremes, the Tathagata (Buddha) teaches the Dharma via the middle." Samyutta Nikaya (SN 12.15), Kaccayanagotta Sutta: On Right View - translated by Thanissaro Bhikku.
The Middle Way is the noble eightfold path to Nirvana. In the Itivuttaka Sutta (Iti 44 - Nibbana), Buddha calls Nirvana consciousness "the unconditioned state."
"Bhikkus, I will teach you the unconditioned and the path leading to the unconditioned." Majjhima Nikaya (M 119), Kayagatasati Sutta, Satipatthana - translated from the Pali by Piya Tan.
"Among what is unconditioned, Nirvana is the highest to reach." With Buddha. CNP (Catukka Nipata Pali).
The Nirvana Sutras of Gautama Buddha state that it (unconditioned Nirvana) is the "end of stress."
"My mind has attained the Unconditioned. Achieved is the end of craving." Dhammapada (Udana Vatthu) Jara Vagga - translated by N. M. Thera in Dhammapada: a Translation, P.154.
" O Bhikkus, there is an unborn, ungrown, unconditioned. Were there not that unborn, ungrown, unconditioned, there would be no escape from the born, grown, conditioned. Since there is the unborn, ungrown, unconditioned, so there is escape from the born, grown, conditioned." Udana 8.3 - translated in What the Buddha Taught - W. Rahula, P.37.
"One attains Enlightenment by gradually detaching the mind from the conditioned and directing it towards the Unconditioned... Nirvana consists in the absolute cessation of all such discriminations, and realization that undifferentiated and homogeneous Emptiness, Suchness, Sameness may be variously denominated (Ultimate) Reality." A Survey of Buddhism - B. Sangharashita, P.258/9.
The Middle Path to the Unconditioned - also known as the Great Way (Tao) of the Spirit - is neither thesis nor antithesis, but their transformed, transcendental/experiential consummate synthesis; neither one nor many, but all; neither condition nor conditioned, but unconditioned, neither differentiator nor differentiated, but undifferentiated.
"Manu says in his Smriti: In the beginning all this existence was One Undifferentiated Mass of Unmanifestedness, unknown, indefinable, unarguable and unknown in every way. From this (primordial nothingness or non-existence)... arose the Universe of name and form, through the medium of the Self-existent Creator." Discourses/Articles - Swami Krishnananda, P.3.
When asked to describe Nirvana, Buddhists launch into a series of negations to which there are always opposed affirmations. For example, the Unconditioned is neither coming nor going, but both coming and going; neither arising nor passing away, but both; neither form nor matter; neither transcendent nor immanent; neither divine nor mundane, etc. Avoiding extremes, Buddha teaches the Dharma of the "Middle" bracketed by antinomies or opposites.
"In Mahayana Buddhism, final nirvana is both mundane and transcendental, and is also used as a term for the Absolute." A Dictionary of Chinese Buddhist Terms - W. E. Soothill & L. Hodous, P.328.
"Finally, the Bodhisattva (ascended master) on his Path cognizes the unreality of all the separate elements of existence, which are intuited by him as merged in the unique undifferentiated Absolute." Buddhism edited by R. A. Gard, P. 43.
Ultimately, nothing can be said directly about the unconditioned without to some extent conditioning or qualifying the unqualified. This is why Buddhists sometimes refer to the unconditioned state as emptiness or nothingness. Sometimes, Buddhists and Christians get around this metaphysical paradox by way of the via negativa. For example, the "middle" may be said to be neither being, nor non-being, but becoming; neither the one same, nor the many other, but the essence of all; neither absolutely infinite nor absolutely finite, but absonite.
Neither wholly transcendent, nor strictly immanent, the middle path is illuminated by the Spirit of both, as echoed in the Tao or great way of All That Is.
Similarly, the Christian Holy Spirit is said to be "neither the Father, nor the Son, but only the Spirit of the Father and the Son" (St. Augustine). The glorified Infinite (absonite) Spirit is said to be "neither created, nor begotten, but proceeding" from both the Father and Son (Athanasian Creed). In its abstract absolute form, the Holy Trinity may be said to be the Creator, his Supreme Being, and their consummate Unconditioned Absonite Spirit - the mysterious Holy Ghost (the ultimate cohort) who is their Superspirit.
In Christian/Buddhist terms, it may be said that neither the Father alone, nor the Son by himself, nor even both together as one Absonite Spirit person; but only the Trinity is potentially infinite One God.
Apparently, the abstract laws of pure reason (e.g. mathematics and logic, including the laws of contradiction and sufficient reason, etc.) are immutable and eternal truths, existing before anything and after everything, made out of nothing but the power of ideas and the force of reason itself.
Just how and why this existential realm of transcendent ideas, and the material universe with its experiential realm of mundane consciousness, create and reflect each other remains to be fully explained. However, it would seem that the only adequate metaphysical source/destiny for their individual existence is their mutual existence in the synthesis of their existential/experiential "unconditioned" consciousness - their ultimate Spirit of Destiny Consummation. These three realms of consciousness may be called the three absolutes of creation - the primal proto-consciousness of the Deity Absolute Creator, the super-consciousness of the Universe Absolute Supreme Being, and the pre/post-consciousness of the unconscious or Unconditioned Absolute Spirit.
The Trinity is not a first state of self-conscious being, nor merely a second identity, but ultimately both; and eternally all three in thrice-self-conscious One God. Trinity knows only itself - there may be no other.
While the construction of ideas in this treatise may be viewed by some as the product or invention of a human mind, they seem to the author to be merely an evolving personal, as well as incipient social, discovery of something that was always there.
Similarly, some say that mathematics and logic are inventions of the human mind, while scientists and others, whose work is based on these laws and their demonstrated implications, almost always feel that their most coherent equations and best theories are not invented, but are valid extensions of the abstract laws of pure reason. They are true in a lasting sense, which exists both before and after their 'discovery.' In essence, they may be in fact, part of everlasting ideas, and form the metaphysical basis of a systematic unity which is self-sustaining and thus absolute.
However, in a Christian-Buddhist view, it seems likely that the approach to ultimate truth must be both created (invented) and discovered (as well as being neither merely created, nor exactly discovered); and/but mutually synthesized and otherwise eventuated, ultimately by the conjoined will of the Creator and the Creature, informing the Creation.
Buddhism, particularly the Zen branch, understands this as what Buddha called the "unconditioned state" - Nirvana - the original and ultimate source/synthesis or undifferentiated state of consciousness. Trinitarians point out that the Creation Inceptor and the pro-Created Supreme Being do in fact wilfully differentiate from that original source, which is merely a chaos of potential energies, with no distinctive will or particular character of its own, pending their self-realizing action.
Until co-sponsored by their consciousness of themselves and each other, in their ultimate synthesis: the co-creation (with its Creator-spirit and its Creature-spirit melded in their unconditioned Conjoined Spirit of All That Is) may be said to be "nothing." The original Source is only a potential something, until invested by the original Creator in conjunction with his Creatures - whom he sets free as co-Creators - in actualization of their systematically unified dream of Destiny Consummation, "proceeding" from both.
As a personal Destiny Consummator, this spirit of synthesis sometimes seems so indefinable or "undetermined" as to be open to random chance and quantum uncertainty, as much as divine force. But its randomness must cancel out in the long run, leaving only the possibility of providential guidance, or nothing at all. But there is something rather than nothing!
This overlooks for a moment, the "many worlds" hypothesis of creation, which is so mystical, ghostly, and filled with unnecessary duplication of energy; that it would only be consistent with the suspiciously divine extravagance already witnessed frequently in nature and evolution. If nature really is only random quantum fluctuations, then it is impossible to account for the energy of the many worlds it would take to randomly produce our world, short of postulating the infinite divine goodness of a Deity Absolute, and his Supreme Being, melded in their Source/Synthesis of All That Is - the Trinity of One God.
By the principle of the dialectical synthesis of great antinomies or contradictions, it is logically necessary that from past-eternity, both of the 'first' two absolutes of personal consciousness must have been associated with each other in a third absolute coordinate dimension of reality including both. Their totality is neither personal nor not-personal, but pre-personal spirit consciousness, out of which they emerge, and into which they mingle and meld.
Preserving the law of the conservation of energy/mass, this totality synthesis acts as a reservoir of equilibrium or equipoise, constituting the necessary metaphysical source and sink of the individuality of the existential, and the plurality of the experiential, in their consummate identity. This "Spirit of All That Is" must be an active, breathing counterpart and vibrant counterbalance of the ideal and the real, compensating their development and growth with its own reciprocal and complimentary expansions, such that however large the system of polarizations becomes, the total energy always balances out to zero.
This closes the metaphysical circle of creation in a triunity of existential, experiential, and associative phases, manifesting each other out of nothing but the potential energy of the rational notion of themselves and each other, pulling themselves up by their own bootstraps, so to speak.
2) A Zen-Taoist View - the "undifferentiated"
Buddhist and neo-Confucian interpretations of the Middle Way and the Tao, always imply a third option between (or combining) two extremes - being and not-being mingled in becoming - yin and yang melded in the Tao - Deity Absolute and Supreme Being fused in their Absonite Spirit of undifferentiated Unconditioned Consciousness.
"Our two eyes see dualistically, and dualism is at the bottom of all the trouble we have gone through. This does not mean that dualism is to be abolished, only that there ought to be a third eye. The important thing is that the two eyes must remain, but at the same time there ought to be another… The third eye is not between or above the two eyes - the two eyes are the third eye. The Awakening of Zen - D. T. Suzuki edited by Christmas Humphreys, P.31.
"Zen does not say that God is transcendent or immanent… (Only that) when we use our minds, we have to understand things dualistically - either transcendentally or immanently. When I have explained that, there is nothing more to say. All that is needed is the opening of the third eye. When we have a third eye (absonite consciousness), it does not annihilate the two eyes….The transcendental and the immanent God exist at the same time. When they exist at the same time, you cannot say anything about them, i.e., affirm or deny one or the other." The Awakening of Zen - D. T. Suzuki edited by Christmas Humphreys, P.31/32.
Superficial logic says that contradictory statements, such as the universe is infinite versus the universe is finite, cannot both be true. However, highly respected philosophers have shown that great dynamical antinomies may both be true in different respects. In this case, they could both be limitless or absonite. Indeed, in order to give a coherent account of all that is and is not, it has to be assumed that in the greatest of all contradictions, both sides must somehow be valid and true.
"We must not shut anything out, but try to reach the point where all distinctions are seen to be void, where nothing is seen as desirable or undesirable, existing or not existing… the enlightened man is capable of perceiving both unity and multiplicity without the least contradiction between them." Huang Po quoted in The World of Zen - N. W. Ross, P68/9.
"In the higher realm of True Suchness (nirvana) there is neither 'other' nor 'self.' When a direct identification is asked for, we can only say, 'Not two.' In being not two, all is the same. All That Is is comprehended in it." Bodhidharma quoted in Essays in Buddhism - D. T. Suzuki, P.201.
Nirvana (the Unconditioned) consciousness may be said to be neither personal, nor non-personal, but prepersonal (indwelling spirit) consciousness of the 'unconscious.' Ultimately, Nirvana is the absolute spiritual complement of the consciousness of the transcendental heavenly Deity and of the immanent worldly Supreme Being. It is a combination, transformation, and reconciliation of the duality of those two manifestations, synthesized in a third entity - their coordinate and co-equal Buddha Spirit. And thus, awakening Nirvana Consciousness makes three: - the Deity Absolute Creator, the Universe Absolute Supreme Being, and the Unconditioned Absolute Consummate Spirit of Nirvana or All That Is and is not.
"Zen, being practical, wants us to make the noble determination to give up our dualistic life for the sake of enlightenment and eternal peace… the ultimate truth, in which thesis and antithesis are concretely unified." Essays in Buddhism - D. T. Suzuki, P.278.
In light of the ancient world-view, confirming the idea of the "ultimate" compound path of the undifferentiated Unconditioned Absolute; the dream of "enlightenment and eternal peace" is surely something at least supreme, if not divine - something positive, not empty or void, in the usual sense. If this Middle or Tao is neither thesis nor antithesis, then it must be a synthesis; and ultimately these expressions may be used to designate the totality of All That Is manifest in heaven and earth.
For Zen-Taoists, the key may be found in the unconditioned totality of the divine and universal, which is the third or synthetic dimension of the Trinity of transcendent existential Deity, immanent experiential Supreme Being, and their undifferentiated Unconditioned Absolute Spirit consciousness of "All That Is" (God is transcendent, immanent, and transcendent/immanent).
"The Tao is called 'mystery' or 'mystery of mysteries' (Chapter 1 of the Tao Te Ching), so it is at once transcendent and immanent… There are things which seem to be opposed, but in reality are complimentary, such as easy and difficult, long and short, high and low, in front and behind (Chapter 2)." Tao, Sages, Immortals: towards a Christian-Taoist dialogue - Fr. J. H. Wong.
The Tao or "Great Way" is conceived as the harmonization of yin and yang indentified in positive and negative, or otherwise contrasting terms. In the Taoist symbol of yin and yang, the S-shaped line separating the black and white spaces may be interpreted as the Middle Path between opposites, while the circle that encompasses them both suggests their synthesis in the Tao of All That Is. Likewise, the black and white circles may be taken to represent a nucleus of the converse truth in both yin and yang, e.g. the affirmative buried in Buddhist negations.
"There is something undifferentiated and yet complete, which existed before heaven and earth. Soundless and formless, it depends on nothing and does not change. It operates everywhere and is free from danger… I do not know its name; I call it the Tao." The Way of Lao Tzu - translated by W. Chan, Chapter 25.
Likewise again, in Christian Trinity terminology this is not the spirit of the Father, nor the spirit of the Son, but the mutually glorified Holy Spirit "proceeding" from them both, taken together - as one entity - personally distinct from his co-equal, co-eternal and fully coordinate co-sponsors, who differentiate from him, as well as mingle and meld in him. Christians sometimes call it the Holy Ghost - that mysterious third manifestation or expression, who may be conceived as the pre-personalization of the Absonite Spirit in perichoresis with the 'first' two persons of the Trinity fellowship, eventuating in the emergence of their ultimate Destiny Consummator.
In the ultimate analysis, antinomies may both be true in different respects, as the philosophers have shown. Plato perceived this truth as a mingling, melding, and fusion of the existential realm of the divine 'idea' with the experiential reality of the mundane world. Pythagoras and Plato saw it in mathematical terms as the All, which includes the One and the Many in their unqualified Totality of source and sink. In existential Trinity terms, the spirit of the Creation Inceptor and the spirit of his Grand Architect of Supreme Being are fused in their Holy Spirit of potentially Infinite Destiny Consummation, which is neither the one same, nor many other, but their "mingled essence."
The third dimension of consciousness is a synthesis of the first and second - their ultimate development, so to speak. However, it is just as true to say that both existential and experiential consciousnesses emerge, separate or precipitate, out of their unconditioned consciousness of the Unconscious - their primordial source (and ultimate sink). Presently, this "unconscious" seems to be neither an 'idea' (dream), nor a reality; but always on the verge, or in the middle, of both levels of consciousness.
Thus, in a sort of "dancing around" of the alternating perspectives, evident in human intuition of the Trinity, the undifferentiated or unconditioned All That Is may be viewed as the primordial Source or origin (and in this sense "creator"), as well as the ultimate Consummation or combination (and in this sense creature), of the Creator and the Created.
It is just as valid to say that the Deity Absolute Creator and his Universe Supreme Being create themselves and each other, by differentiating from their original source/synthesis. This entity is, was, and always will be their mutual Spirit persona - neither self-subsistent, nor begotten or created, but an eventuated destiny consummation, which is at once a past-eternal potential, and a future-unlimited existential/experiential third absolute of being, or state of consciousness. This dimension of cosmic consciousness may be said to be neither totally personal nor only impersonal, but is sometimes sensed as a pre-personal spirit "thought adjuster," inspirational muse, and conscience indwelling the human soul, prior to fusion with that individual person.
"From the beginning, neither alone or not-alone, neither affirmed nor denied, upstream (and down-stream) of all duality. It is the primordial Being (of All Beings, including the absolute and the supreme, eventuating in their Ultimate Original Spirit)." H. Benoit quoted in The World of Zen - N. W. Ross, P246.
"In the beginning was the Tao. All things issue from it. All things return to it." Tao Te Ching by Lao Tzu: A New English Version, translated by S. Mitchell, Chapter 52.
Evidently, the "Middle" of the Buddha and the "Way" or Tao of Lao Tzu are substantially equivalent to each other and to the "All" of the Platonic Trinity of the One, the Many, and the totality of All That Is. And this inclusive consciousness of the Unconditioned unconscious is the metaphysical synthesis, which closes the circle of pure practical reason, constituting the coordinates of the Trinity.
It appears that the consciousness of each member of the Trinity emerges out of nothing but the goodness of the rational notion of themselves and each other. Since some sort of conflation of ideas would seem to be the only adequate metaphysical vehicle of creation ex nihilo, the primal idea (concept construct) of Trinity is a philosophical inevitability. If religious pluralism as an expression of Trinity is a genuinely good idea, it will eventually gain the acceptance it deserves.
For Zen Buddhists, "satori" (enlightenment) is the ultimate meditational goal of more or less sudden personal realization, and at least momentary awakening to cosmic consciousness of the unconscious - the "Unconditioned."
"But this Enlightenment experience, the revelation of the (Unconditioned) Absolute Self, is beyond the dualistic way of thinking. We therefore naturally start by negating all those forms of dichotomy… we realize that each negation implies in it an affirmation..." The Awakening of Zen - D. T. Suzuki edited by Christmas Humphreys, P.92.
"When tranquility is firmly established, the inner conditions are at last favourable for the opening of satori, in which dualism is conciliated by integrating itself in a ternary (threefold) synthesis." H. Benoit quoted in The World of Zen - N. W. Ross, P44.
"In one sense, satori is a leaping out of an abyss of absolute nothingness, and in another sense it is going down into the abyss itself. Satori is, therefore, at once a total annihilation and a new creation… destruction and construction are one." D. T. Suzuki quoted in The World of Zen - N. W. Ross, P232.
Satori is sometimes said to be Sunyata or "Nothing" - neither divine nor mundane, neither God nor not-God, neither the one nor the other, and so on ad infinitum. Then, logically, this Nothing is either nothing at all (nonsense), or it represents the mutual Spirit of both unity and plurality, which may be thought of as the integration of both the one differentiator, and the many differentiated, in the undifferentiated totality of all that is. Thus, Nirvana may be seen as that total Emptiness or undetermined Nothingness out of which the dialectic emerged, and into which it is merged or mingled and melded - the Unconditioned.
We have the authority of one of the foremost Zen Buddhist writers in the West, Dr. D. T. Suzuki, that sunyata (nothing or the "empty" void) is also something both transcendental and immanent… experienced as both subject and object.
"Sunyata is not a negative term, as might be suggested, when it is translated as "emptiness" or "void"… The doctrine of sunyata is neither an immanentism nor a transcendentalism; if we can say so, it is both… Sunyata is experienced only when it is both subject and object." Zen Buddhism - D. T. Suzuki, P.261/2.
"Sunyata (emptiness or void) is formless (unconsciousness), but it is the fountainhead of all possibilities (of consciousness)." The Awakening of Zen - D. T. Suzuki edited by Christmas Humphreys, P.55.
3) A Quantum Physics View - the "undetermined"
Hesiod called it the "Void" or "Chaos" out of which comes the prime differentiation of the One, and the Many, from the "All" - the totality out of which they initially emerge and into which they ultimately integrate. Plato called it the "Mingled Essence" of One Same and Many Other. More recently, the astrophysicist Sir Arthur Eddington defined it as "Undifferentiated Sameness" indistinguishable from boundless "Nothingness."
"The whole Universe may have appeared out of literally nothing at all, created as a quantum fluctuation in the same way that quantum uncertainty allows a virtual pair of particles to appear and to exist for a short time before annihilating." In Search of the Big Bang - J. Gribbin, P.372.
"Quantum fluctuations may have been very important in the origin of the structure of the universe: according to inflation the ones that existed when inflation began were amplified and formed the seed of all current observed structure." Wikipedia explanation of quantum fluctuation - Google P.1.
Quantum fluctuations produce what physicists call "entangled" pairs of particles which behave as a single entity. The success of quantum computing and the qubit '1&0' (neither '1' nor '0', but both); in a form of quantum "superposition" or consummation, would demonstrate the validity/applicability of quantum entanglement, which persists as a birthmark, no matter how far apart the particles become. By harnessing the power of metaphysical synthesis with an electronic blueprint, the qubit could exponentially increase the speed of computer computations, and achieve other possible breakthroughs.
A quantum computer achieves an exponential speed-up over classical linear computing by using the phenomena of superposition of quantum states in the electronics itself, as a variable representing the disjunctive "global" combination of the entangled opposites, or sides of a question. In qubit devices, the 1&0 is a compliment of the 1 and the 0, in a superposition, asserting the value of a disjunctive antinomical third coordinate (the aggregate or synthesis), without specifying the values of the disjuncts separately. This brings in quantum uncertainty, but gives systematic freedom grounded in synthesis (1&0) added to the dialectical perspective (1) or (0).
Because the undifferentiated (1&0) qubit always retains its own undetermined complementary identity, its ultimate value is only revealed in probabilities. The metaphysics of the triad of '1', '0', and '1&0', ties in so well with the triads and trinities reflected in the words and worldviews of Buddha, Lao Tzu, Plato, Jesus Christ, Immanuel Kant, and others, that it seems to have the same coherent, consistent, and comprehensive basis.
The point is that 1&0 is neither 1 nor 0, but an undetermined third coordinate proceeding from both. It may be significant that this abstract formula is parallel to the traditional definition of the third person of the Trinity who is neither the spirit of the Father, nor the spirit of the Son, but the Holy (holistic) Spirit "proceeding" from them both. Somewhat like the Holy Ghost, the qubit is neither totally 'on' nor only 'off,' but both - neither differentiator, nor differentiated, but undifferentiated - neither determiner, nor determined, but undetermined.
Perhaps quantum mechanics seems so mysterious because it relates closely to the infinite underlying formula (the only apparent adequate metaphysical vehicle) of creation - the Trinity Absolute. The secret of the Trinity may be discovered and disclosed in the synthesis of the third or unconditioned coordinate - the undetermined identity or "hidden" variable some physicists have been looking for.
Evidence of the power of quantum computing would validate qubit theory, and by implication support the concept of Trinity Absolute, as its possible metaphysical basis.
Modern radio astronomers have apparently found the background radiation left over from a sudden and definite "Big Bang" which occurred about 14 billion years ago. The idea of a sudden explosion of energy into matter fits well with what is known of the current composition and expansion of the cosmos. If the distance between galaxies is increasing today, everything must have been closer together in the past, and the universe may have begun from a point of infinite density.
"This event that marked the beginning of the universe is all the more amazing when one reflects on the fact that a state of 'infinite density' is synonymous with 'nothing.' There can be no object that possesses infinite density, for if it had any size at all, it would not be infinitely dense. Therefore, as astronomer Fred Hoyle points out, the big bang theory requires the creation of matter from nothing (but infinite potential)." God: Readings in Philosophy edited by T. A. Robinson. P.65.
Exploding from apparently nothing but the potential energy behind and power of goodness inherent in the idea of itself, balanced and cradled in the arms of the Trinity Absolute; perhaps the 'seed' of material reality suddenly appeared out of 'nothing', and began to grow and evolve, becoming the expanding universe we know today. Just as the abstract laws of pure reason (mathematics, logic, cause/effect, etc.) are immutable and eternal truths, existing before anything and after everything, made out of nothing but the power of ideas and the force of reason itself; so the concept of Trinity may be a past-eternal potential, and probably infinite.
4) A Panentheist-Christian View - "all in God"
Based on the principle that great contradictory explanations of the cosmos, such as theology versus science - God versus Not-God - may both be true in different respects, and from the conception that opposites may be reconciled in their synthesis; it may be argued that some sort of consummation of religion and science in a theory of "all that is" would be the logical third coordinate of a metaphysical version of the Trinity (One God in Three personae, expressions, phases, facets, counterparts, manifestations, etc.).
Looking for that mysterious coordinate, one begins to notice that the psychologies of the major religions of the world map directly onto the Trinity. Logically, the threefold human soul may also be modeled on the Trinity - its only adequate metaphysical vehicle. Coincidentally, space, time, energy, and matter are all naturally three-dimensional.
A search for the Prime Creator finds that Allah/Abba/Brahma is the first person of God in three world religions - Islam, Christianity, and Hinduism. Other major religions seem to be variations or co-relatives of these three - not counter-examples, but exquisite and sophisticated permutations of the basic psychological expressions of Trinity.
A review of beliefs in reincarnation and resurrection leads to the idea of a Universe Absolute Supreme Allsoul personified by Muhammad, Jesus Christ, Buddha, and/or others. Some such systematic unity of resurrected reincarnate personality seems to be the only adequate concept we can discover for the understanding of a truly Supreme Being.
If only half of what the Scriptures say about Jesus is true, then he would seem to be an incarnation of the Supreme Being. Muslims might argue that something similar can be said of Muhammad, and Buddhists might suggest Buddha (whom some Hindus identify as the 9th incarnation of Vishnu); while the Neo-Confucians might say Lao Tzu, etc.
These superb human beings are civilization's candidates for the title of that entity whom Kant referred to as "the whole of experience as an individual thing" - the Supreme Being. In human terms, such a conjunction of the consciousness of all individual humans would amount to an Almighty Universe Allperson - what the Hindus refer to as the Paramatman or Supersoul, what Plotinus called the All-Soul or World-Soul, what Auguste Comte called "le Grand-Etre," what Teilhard De Chardin called "the Greater Myself," and what Ralph Waldo Emerson termed the Supreme Being or Over-Soul.
The concept of the Worldsoul, Allsoul, Supersoul, Oversoul, etc. may be regarded as a form of panentheism, which is a composite of the terms "pan," meaning all or everything, "en," meaning in, and "theism," meaning God. "Process Panentheism" seeks to avoid either isolating God from the world as traditional theism does, or indentifying the world with God as pantheism does. Panentheism (all in God) embraces a synthesis (gestalt) of active free souls, in the process of discovering, reconstructing, and experiencing their mutual identity, mingled and melded in a Supreme Allsoul, creating a future that includes the past more intimately in the present.
Panentheism was espoused by Plato, further elaborated by Plotinus and accepted by the early Christian leaders, but later almost forgotten. Never entirely eclipsed, panentheism emphasizes God's immanence in the world, and the world in God ("For in him we live, and move, and have our being" - Acts 17:28), as a complement to God's transcendence of the world. Process Philosophy was founded by Alfred North Whitehead (1861-1947), and applied with resurrectionary intent to theology and the psychology of the World-Soul, by his students led by Charles Hartshorne (1897-2000), et al.
Like the Trinity (their only adequate metaphysical vehicle), human souls share in rational mind and divine spirit, but differ distinctively in personality. The threefold psychology of the human soul may be categorized as follows: We think about ideas or concepts with the non-personal mind; intuit things at first sight, with the aid of the prepersonal spirit, and judge concepts and intuitions through our personality (executive of the soul). It may be concluded that we feel values with the whole soul (which is part of the Allsoul), and the self expresses values as identity or personal character, through bodily acts of will.
Just as the spirit of the Father, and the spirit of the Son (as well as the indwelling spirit spark of man) are united in their mutual Spirit, so all human souls are united in the Allsoul of the Supreme Being - Christ. "Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the spirit of God dwelleth in you?" (I Cor. 3:16)
In the Bible, St. Paul tells us that as, "The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit (fused with indwelling spirit)... The first man is of the earth, earthy: the second man is the Lord from heaven... And as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly." 1 Cor. 15:45-49.
According to St. Paul, union with Christ is union with God. "For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive." 1 Cor. 15:22. So, at the second coming (in the final resurrection) we are no longer "in Adam," but then we are "in Christ," and renewed creations linked with the life of Christ. The most important truth in Christianity is that we are made alive in Christ, signifying human souls becoming at one with God, without loss of individual self-identity.
It is said that in his epistles, St. Paul uses the expression "in Christ" and its various equivalents 165 times. For example:
"There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus." Gal. 3:28. "Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature." II Cor. 5:17. "There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free." Rom. 8:1/2. Writing some years later, St. John confirmed that Jesus said, "At that day ye shall know that I am in my Father, and ye in me, and I in you." John 14:20.
Were Paul and Jesus referring only to the future church as the earthly 'body of Christ,' which is the self-serving claim of some Christian theologians? Or were they alluding to the far greater truth of what Jung called the "collective unconscious" - the Allsoul of the Universe Absolute Supreme Being?
In the larger sense, Paul uses "in Christ" to characterize an all-inclusive personality, in whom believers find themselves incorporated in a communal union with Christ. It is a real connection, but not an absorption or obliteration, nor a 'falling asleep' in church. Being "in Christ" individually and communally manifests in personally significant inner experience, of which the church should be a mutually supportive outer demonstration of universal spiritual unity.
However, with a few exceptions, organised religion is currently saddled with doctrinal intolerance, and distracted by traditional sub-divisions; as well as permeated by narrow-minded views without much mutual momentum or living attraction. At face value, too many religions and religious factions are scarred with crude superstitions, and marked by raw religious racism. Perhaps even more significantly, inner religious experience suffers from a paucity of concepts, to which Religious Pluralism seems to be the only readily available antidote.
Being "in Christ" is not simply a metaphor or figure of speech, but a coherent personal reality. Prayer and meditation leading to states of enlightenment and cosmic consciousness, samadhi, satori, nirvana (the unconditioned), etc., are all reputed to be channels of communication between the individual and the persons of the Trinity, including (very significantly for Christians and Krishnan Hindus) our participation in the Almighty Allsoul.
"Ephesians takes the 'in Christ' formula further than any other epistle in understanding it as indicative of a dimension in which the believer, paradoxically, has always been: 'even before his existence in space and time; a dimension in which God makes available to him through Christ the realisation of the mysterion (spirit) and its consequences, one of which is the assumption of his allotted place in the Body of Christ.'" C. C. Caragounis, P.137.
In Ephesians, Paul indicates that God has made the life of Christ the inheritance of the human race. Our very life and identity is bound up in Christ's identity as the Universe Absolute Supreme Being or Allsoul. For example:
"That in the dispensation of the fullness of times, he might gather together in one all things in Christ." Eph. 1:10. "For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works." Eph. 2:10. "Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbour: for we are members one of another." Eph. 4:25. "For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones." Eph. 5:30.
Christ said, "I am the vine, ye are the branches... apart from me ye can do nothing." John 15:5. And as that metaphor suggests, you cannot tell where the branch ends and the vine starts because they are one plant, sharing one life together. God raises us up together and we become part of one person in Christ, the supreme personalization or incarnation of divinity.
Just as the head and members of a body are all parts of one body, believers are part of Christ, as sovereign head of the human race. "Know ye not that your bodies are the members of Christ?" (I Cor. 6:15). Being "in Christ" is synonymous with sonship to God. The Son is that in which the Father sees himself, and becomes more fully self-conscious.
"But speaking the truth in love, (we) may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ." Eph. 4:13-15. "For as we have many members in one body... So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another." Rom. 12:4/5. "For as the body is one: so also is Christ... For the body is not one member, but many." I Cor. 12:12-14. "For in him dwelleth all the fullness of Godhead bodily. And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power." Col. 2:9/10.
What is potential and existential in the Father is actualized and realized in the Son. Our common unity "in Christ" means ontological union and operational union, i.e., union of being and union of doing - all in all.
"And there are diversities of operations, but it is the same God which worketh all in all." I Cor. 12:6. "...the fullness of him that filleth all in all." Eph. 1:22/23. ...is above all, and through all, and in you all." Eph. 4:6. ",,,that God may be all in all." I Cor. 15:28. "Christ is all, and in all." Col. 3:11.
If God is "all in all," then all are one with God, or all are in God, but not necessarily all are God. If Christ is "all in all" then he is the Allsoul, synonymous with the Supreme Being; and then Jesus Christ is God (or rather part God and part Man). The Creator and the Allsoul are unified in mind and united in spirit, but differ in personality; and their mutual Spirit appearance or apparition (Holy Ghost) constitutes a third co-equal persona, related in the same way.
Panentheism agrees with pantheism in denying the idea, taught by classical theism, that the world is purely a contingent creation of a deity who could have existed apart from this or any other world. By saying, instead, that it belongs to the very nature of God to be in relation to a world, panentheism implies that, although our particular world is contingent (created), its most fundamental principles (body and soul) are necessary.
Among the notable theologians and philosophers who have espoused the doctrine of the Allsoul or panentheism are Plato, Plotinus, Porphyry, Iamblichus, Proclus, Justin Martyr, Diognetus, Clemens, Origen, Dionysius, St. Gregory, Erigena, Nicholas de Cusa, Auguste Comte, Emerson, William James, Whitehead, Teilhard de Chardin, Hartshorne, and others.
5) A Hindu View - the "Trimurti"
The Hindu Trimurti may be interpreted to be entirely analogous to the Christian Trinity. In these terms, the correlation of the three members of the combined Trinity may be said to be: 1) Brahma or Abba - the Primogenitor or Primal Creator; 2) Vishnu or Christ - the Preserver or Supersoul; and 3) Shiva or the Holy Ghost - the Destroyer or Consummator.
This analogy is complete because in the Hindu religion, Shiva is regarded not as a negative principle, but rather as an auspicious agent of positive transformation, cyclical regeneration, and even progressive evolution. Shiva is the Destroyer only in the sense of destruction as the necessary prelude of renewal, death as part of the cycle of rebirth, and culmination as the inevitable overture of consummation. This destroyer/consummator concept is analogous to the neither/nor of Buddhism, and the yin/yang of Taoism.
In a variation on the Trimurti (Brahma, Vishnu, Shiva), the Hindu scriptures recognize a parallel triunity in more abstract terms, i.e.: 1) Bhagavan - Primordial Lord or original personality of Godhead. 2) Paramatman - Supersoul, universal self or Supreme Being, 3) Brahman - Ultimate Cosmic Spirit, the impersonal God, undifferentiated, all that exists, root source and final destiny consummation (sometimes said to be "What is and is not"). In this conception, Shiva is sometimes thought of as a personalization of the impersonal Brahman.
Consistent with Christian panentheism, the essential unity of all souls within the Paramatman (Supersoul, Supreme Being or Allsoul) is a fundamental postulate of the Hindu religion, which has long had a tradition that Lord Vishnu is the existential Supreme Being (God) and sustainer (preserver) of the universe, while Krishna is the 8th experiential incarnation of Vishnu. Thus, Krishna represents the World-Soul or the Self of all men when he says:
"O Lord of Death, I (Krishna) am the Self seated in the heart of all beings. I am the beginning, the middle, and the end of all (material) beings." Bhagavad Gita 10.20.
The word Paramatman is formed from two words: Param, meaning supreme or highest, and atman, which means soul or self. Paramatman is the absolute Atman, the Atman of all atmans, the Universal Self. Also known as the Divine Self or Cosmic Person, Paramatman is both part of the individual and part of the macrocosm. The Upanishads compare atman and Paramatman to two birds sitting like friends on a tree (body). Atman eats its fruit (karma), but Paramatman only observes his friend as witness to his actions. The atman and the Paramatman become one and the same when the atman attains true knowledge of the Supreme Being.
In Chapter 13 of the Bhagavad Gita, the Paramatman is described as Krishna residing in the hearts of all beings and in every atom of matter. In Jainism, each atman or individual self is a potential Paramatman or God, but remains as atman only because of its binding karmic limitations. In Jainism, all enlightened souls are called Paramatman and regarded as incipient gods. Jainism honours the soul of each human being as its own saviour and distinct personality.
In addition to later Christian co-relations, because Buddhism was born out of ancient Hinduism, there are naturally many resemblances and overlaps or parallels between them, particularly in their attitudes toward, and the way they speak about "unconditioned" consciousness - Nirvana or Samadhi.
6) A Muslim View - the "One" God
It should be noted that the Quran says Mary was an "untouched" virgin when she conceived the baby Jesus, virtually conceding that his conception was miraculous, and that he therefore may legitimately be regarded as some sort of incarnation or "Son" of God (an illegitimate union of ideas in the eyes of some Muslims).
The Qur'an states that Jesus did not "die" on the cross. See Qur'an 4:157/8 where it says, "For certain, they never killed him. Instead, God raised him to Him" And this is true in the Christian sense in which God resurrected him on the third day, and he 'lives' on.
It should also be noted that there is an Islamic tradition that Jesus will accompany the "Mahdi" (a descendant of Mohammad) in the second coming, and unite the Muslim and Christian worlds. Muslims also believe that in the finality, Jesus is second to the Mahdi, who is regarded as directly representing the One (without a second). But this already suggests that Jesus Christ should be regarded as (representing) the Supreme Being (the 2nd persona of God in Christian terms).
In line with Muslim thinking, it may be speculated that when they (Madhi and Christ) both "return," their united Spirit will be with them; and that will precipitate Judgment Day (which may take years in terms of remaking the world). The Mahdi (Mohammad with the spirit Gabriel) will articulate the principles of the new world order; and Christ (Jesus with the spirit Michael) will administer them. Their rule is forecast to result in eternal peace, brought on by the unification of religions in some sort of integral religious pluralism that resonates profoundly with human nature.
Finally it may be argued that in the Qur'an (4:171 & 5:73), where Allah condemns the teaching of three gods, he was referring not to the Holy Trinity of One God, but to polytheism in general, and specifically to the old Egyptian trinity of the divine Father/Mother/Son (updated as in Allah/Mary/Jesus) - just the kind of primitive and unfortunate carnal idolatry which Christians also reject. For evidence of this interpretation, see Qur'an 5:116 - "Keep in mind, when Allah will ask Jesus son of Mary; didst thou say to the people: Take me and my mother for two Gods besides Allah?"
We could conclude that both Mohammad (as messenger) and Jesus (as personification) reveal the nature of God. To all intents and purposes, they are absolutely coordinate reflections and the logos (words) of God - the absolute, supreme, and ultimate divinity. The Deity Absolute Creator, his Universe Absolute Supreme Being, and their consummate Unconditioned Absolute Spirit - the Trinity Absolute - is an expanded concept of One God, in a threefold creation presided over by Allah, governed by Christ, and inspired by the Spirit of both Mohammad and Jesus.
In fact, when you overlook the harsh polemics, much of the Qur'an may be interpreted in a manner consistent with the abstract Trinity Absolute, and even with the Bible itself, particularly the Old Testament (which has some pungent polemics of its own).
7) A Religious Pluralist View - the "Trinity" Spirit
The major religions of the world relate so closely to one or the other of the members of the Trinity, that an abstract concept of Trinity is ipso facto an excellent paradigm for a coherent understanding of One God, and potential world peace, expressed through integral religious pluralism - which is simply the view that major religions are just different ways of looking at the same God. Indeed, God is craftily hidden in his creation - the not-so-obvious, hiding in plain sight.
The incorporation of beliefs in both reincarnation and resurrection, the identification of the Supreme Being with Jesus Christ and other leaders, as well as the definition of the Unconditioned Absolute Spirit as All That Is, may be appreciated by many people everywhere. The Trinity Absolute is a systematic unity reflected in religions, demonstrated in science, echoed in psychology, and composed in Three Absolutes of Creation.
Jesus came to proclaim spiritual liberty - free personality and spiritual originality - within the broad limitations of spiritual unity. His religion of the spirit is the religion of personal spiritual experience.
It is said that opening to the indwelling spirit spark of divine consciousness can lead to contemplation and communication with the supreme consciousness of the Allsoul or Supersoul - the Son (and grandsons by adoption) of God the Father. For some, these persons of the Trinity may be more readily approached via that third coordinate persona which "proceeds" from them both - their twice-blessed, doubly-glorious, and ultimately-united consciousness - the Unconditioned Absolute (absonite) Spirit or mysterious Holy (holistic) Ghost.
This third manifestation is itself reputed to be approached through prayer, meditation, world-centric consciousness, and holistic integral religious pluralism; accompanied by flashes of universal cosmic consciousness, which is the "unconditioned state" talked about by Buddha. This third Absolute is their source and synthesis completing the Trinity, in what eventually becomes (inevitably is) personalized as the forever-emerging unlimited Destiny Consummator.
All three may be said to share divine reason (mind), and to be quite similar in spirit; but they are most individual in character, with each being a freewill personality whose actions are limited only by the metaphysical necessity of supporting each other in a systematic unity - the 'soul' of One God.
Just because world religions come in different spirit flavors, does not mean that they are necessarily irreconcilable. This book documents how the three spirit-persons of the Trinity are reflected in a threefold natural and inclusive 'procession' of all major religions. The persons of the Trinity are characteristically different, but they share rationality. Their individual spirits only seem to be opposed in world religions, but these may actually be persuaded toward divine unification, in some form of religious pluralism.
There is an underlying systematic unity of religions that becomes more and more clear as it is polished up, and examined closely. It not only maps onto the Holy Trinity, but also the Hindu Trimurti, and includes at least three related views illuminating the Holy Ghost, who is otherwise merely a baffling mysterious invitation to superstition.
When documented in detail, characteristic religious attitudes of parallel identification with individual spirit-persons of the Trinity are clear, coherent, and consistent, which is usually regarded as a good test of truth. The rational goodness, moral attraction, and potential beauty of a system of belief that incorporates the best in all religions strongly suggests that such a comprehensive outlook closely approaches true knowledge of God, in what may eventually turn into an almost universal consensus.
Kant's moral insight was that what ought to be, not only may be, but must be assumed, in order to reach the higher levels of creativity and morality, beyond romantic virtues. Once postulated more clearly and absorbed at least partially, the three 'rational accounts' of the Absolute may put human consciousness well on the way to closing the circle of creation in its own destiny consummation.
Many things seem to demonstrate or confirm that the concept of Trinity Absolute (or something very like it) not only ought to be, but is metaphysical closure in a good (even divine) systematic unity - the first axiom and possibly the only adequate metaphysical vehicle of creation - the ultimate pure/practical abstract "design" which many philosophers and scientists, architects and engineers, as well as idealists and believers on all sides have been looking for.
Since this exposition helps to reconcile most contradictions, religious pluralism, in an expanded form of Trinity, recommends itself as a good metaphysical vehicle for peace.
The Grand Trinity Absolute or "Trinity Infinite"
Based on the detailed exposition of the Trinity Absolute contained in this book, and the latest scientific thinking, it is argued that in an expanded metaphysical concept, time is an illusion in some respects, and is ultimately circular (spiral) when looked at as a whole. Thus, from a human point of view, the Grand Trinity Absolute may be thought of as three snapshots of that same Trinity Absolute at different times or 'ages' of its expanding or unfolding consciousness, through what may be called a "Trinity of Trinities." i.e.:
The first age is speculated to be the earliest epochs of the original existential Paradise Trinity Absolute surrounded by pre-experiential heaven, before the "Big Bang." This is the infinite immutable eternal age of the perfect Existential Trinity - sometimes called the "Ontological Trinity," i.e.: (1) the Deity Absolute Creator; (2) his Paradise Absolute Eternal Architect of Supreme Being; and (3) their Unconditioned Absolute Holy Spirit of Infinite Destiny Consummation.* - All three joyously immersed in a dream-like intelligible realm of perfect original intuitive self-existence.
The second age is conceived to be marked by the sudden appearance of the expanding universes of time and space, followed by a long evolution towards supreme being of the material realm of mundane reality. This is the finite evolving current age of the supreme Experiential Trinity - sometimes called the "Economic Trinity," i.e.: (1) the Deity Absolute of universal realization through the indwelling of his spirit, helping to perfect individual and world-wide morality; in conjunction with (2) the Universe Absolute Supreme Being (Allsoul or Supersoul); assisted by (3) the Unconditioned Absolute Absonite** Spirit envisioned by some as the personal Holy Ghost or Destiny Destroyer/Consummator, and by others as the beyond-personal/impersonal cosmic consciousness of the Buddha Purusha (Spirit) or unconditioned nirvana consciousness. - All enthusiastically engaged in perfecting rational experiential consciousness of the empirical realm of reality.
The third age is expected to be the synthesis of the two 'previous' ages in an epochal age of 'grand universe' eventuation - a consummate fusion of intuition and reason in cosmic consciousness of the unconditioned. This could be a never-ending age of construction. Or the universe could expand so rapidly that it leaves virtually nothing, out of which the experiential Trinity may replicate itself again as before, until a stable equilibrium for the expansion of Trinity consciousness is achieved.
This is the future "third" age of the Consummate Absonite Trinity, i.e.: (1) the Deity Absolute of ultimate self-realization through absonite experience, together in mutual fellowship with (2) the Paradise/Universe Absolute (Grand Universe Architect) Supreme Being or Oversoul; abetted by (3) the Unconditioned Absolute Ultimate Spirit envisioned by some as the ruthless personal Destiny Consummator, and by others as the inscrutable pre-personal Tao*** of All That Is (yin/yang). - All creative expressions of the divine progressing inexorably towards ultimate perfection, which is the original ideal perfection made more mature and replete by unfolding in universal consciousness, and actually associating physically as well as spiritually in the absonite realm of consciousness.
From the abstract point of view, this Grand Trinity Absolute or Trinity of Trinities is systematically unified in a timeless dance of threefold creativity, on a threefold stage of consciousness ranging from existential… to experiential… to absonite; from transcendent… to immanent… to holistic; and from divine… to human… to divine and human, i.e.:
1.0 Existential Trinity - pre-universe - intuition - 'intelligible' consciousness.
1.1 The Deity Absolute Creator of original self-determination,
1.2 His Paradise Absolute Eternal Architect of Supreme Being,
1.3 Their Unconditioned Absolute Holy Spirit of Infinite Destiny Consummation.*
2.0 Experiential Trinity - universe evolution - reason - 'empirical' consciousness.
2.1 The Deity Absolute of universal realization via his indwelling spirit-sparks,
2.2 The Universe Absolute Supreme Being or Allsoul of the collective unconscious,
2.3 The Unconditioned Absolute Absonite** Spirit of cosmic Nirvana consciousness.
3.0 Absonite Trinity - grand universe eventuation - intuition/reason - unconscious.
3.1 The Deity Absolute of ultimate realization via consummation with the Supreme,
3.2 The Grand Universe Absolute Architect or Oversoul of collective consciousness,
3.3 The Unconditioned Absolute Ultimate Spirit Tao*** of All That Is (and is not).
*The Christian Holy Ghost/Spirit parallels the Hindu Destiny Destroyer/Consummator.
**Neither Absolutely Infinite, nor absolutely finite; but Absonite, proceeding from both.
***Using the Tao or "way" of Lao Tzu, to suggest a later 'era,' or future development, of Buddha's "middle way" via unconditioned Nirvana consciousness, alludes to the fact that (even though they were of the same historic age, and taught variations of the same third person of the Trinity) the sophisticated teachings of the Tao, and the rich symbolism of its icon, are only now beginning to be rediscovered and appreciated. Buddhism, on the other hand is widely established, and when joined in future with re-awakening Taoism, the wisdom of these two versions of the Third Absolute should "ultimately" help close the circle of human understanding and realization of the strength of the Trinity in portraying One God.
The Absonite Trinity is a synthesis of the infinite eternal Existential Trinity, and the finite temporal Experiential Trinity - neither the one nor the other, but ultimately 'proceeding' from both. This absonite ultimate Absolute Trinity may influence humans directly and indirectly via a spiritual fusion of both the Divine and the Supreme in their Destiny Consummator Spirit of all that is - existential and experiential consciousness, united in consciousness of the "unconscious" - spiritually both transcendent and mundane combined in absonite unconditioned cosmic consciousness.
This Spirit of the Unconditioned (consciousness of the unconscious) is said to be available now in brief glimpses, through disciplined contemplation, focused dreaming, balanced yoga and transcendental meditation (prayer), progressing to satori (enlightenment), and moksha (liberation), capped by nirvana (unconditioned consciousness), direct knowledge, equanimity, bliss, etc.
The following highly personalized version of the Grand Trinity Absolute or Trinity of Trinities is hopefully only a slight distortion, in concession to human interest and wider understanding, constructed on grounds well-prepared by philosophy, psychology, and the world's great religions, i.e.:
The main difficulty with the Trinity is that you have to be careful how you say things about it, in order to avoid merely confusing issues. Invoking that spirit of careful rational clarity, I hope you will find this book reasonably consistent and easily followed, if not totally true and entirely original.
Samuel Stuart Maynes
Surrey, B.C., Canada
Posted to: www.trinityabsolute.com, May 2016.
Please e-mail your comments or questions directly to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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