Religious Symbols

RELIGIOUS PLURALISM
and the TRINITY ABSOLUTE
the Soul of One God
and a Universal Metaphysical Vehicle of Peace


by Samuel Stuart Maynes

INTRODUCTION

ABSTRACT

  1. Summary Demonstrations of the thesis that God exists and the antithesis that God does not exist are reviewed, and the logic or validity of their reconciliation in a synthesis of theology and science is explored.
  1. It is noted that three (3) is the first common denominator and birthmark of space, time, matter, energy, human psychology, world religions, and One God.
  1. One God in the form of the Trinity Absolute is defined in abstract philosophical terms, unencumbered by specifically Christian dogma.
  1. It is argued that the major religions of the world reflect the persons or manifestations of the abstract Trinity Absolute, in dialectical terms.
  1. It is argued that Trinity is the only adequate metaphysical vehicle for understanding the nature of the human soul, in psychological terms.
  1. It is demonstrated by summary quotations that a reflection of the differential attitudes of members of the Trinity Absolute may be seen in the books of three prolific authors of recent highly-respected "new age" literature.

Based on the principle that great antinomies such as theology and science - God and not-God - may both be true in different respects, and from the conception that contradictions may be reconciled in their dialectical synthesis; it is argued that the nature of 'reality' is a self-sustaining symmetrical construct of three absolute dimensions. These metaphysical cosmic coordinates may be called the Three Absolutes of Unity or Creation, i.e.:

(1) The transcendent existential thesis eternalized in the Deity Absolute - usually epitomized as the Primogenitor Creator, or Prime Being; (2) The immanent experiential antithesis materialized in the Universe Absolute - especially personalized in the gestalt of the Almighty Universe Allsoul, or Supreme Being; and (3) Their ultimate associative synthesis sublimated in the Unconditioned Absolute - sometimes expressed as the Absonite Spirit of All That Is, or what Immanuel Kant called the "Being of All Beings."

From the assumption that there must exist a systematic unity of reality, or there would be nothing; it is argued that the abstract concept of the three basic manifestations of the Trinity Absolute completes a circle or cycle of creation out of nothing but each other, and reason itself. Trinity Absolute is the systematic unity of heaven, earth, and all that is.

If, as it seems, it may be sufficiently demonstrated that the multidimensional nature of One God in Trinity manifestation is reflected in the religious pluralism of the world, and human psychology, as well as the metaphysics of space, time, matter, and energy; then and therefore, the existence of that God must be regarded as systematically self-evident. This proof anticipates the eventuation of a Universal Consensus of religion and science.

MORAL WORLDVIEW

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.

Not God, but pure reason dictates, and practical reason authorizes us to assume the prime moral directive expressed personally in the Golden Rule, which is universal among all major religions; and more generally in the One Categorical Imperative, enunciated by the great philosopher. The prime directive imposes three important Moral Tests, i.e.:

1. Rational weighing of probable results and possible consequences (Utilitarian Realist) - the Universal Rule of Public Responsibility: "Do what will maximize happiness," not just for yourself, but the happiness of everybody. Do what is in the best interest of all, as far as you can weigh the probable consequences (Consequentialism) and implement the optimal actions. Ask: "What will be the immediate results, later consequences, and best choices for the greatest happiness of everyone?" (public practical reason based on science and judgements of probability).

2. Muslim, Christian, Hindu, Buddhist, Confucian-Taoist... (Religious Pluralist) - the Universal Golden Rule of personal morality: "Do unto others as you would they do to you." Personally love one another and do good to all. Love even your enemies and forgive trespasses. Defend sacred public principles like religious freedom, universal law, and human rights; but overcome evil with good where possible. The old scriptures authorize us to wage 'just war' justly. But we make war only if absolutely necessary - and only after all personal approaches have failed - because "forgiveness is better." Always give love and peace a chance. In considering moral action, ask: "How would you like it if somebody did that to you, or your group?" (personal pure and practical reason based on the highest religious and cultural values of virtue and goodwill).

3. The One Categorical Imperative (Rational Idealist) - the Universal Moral Law: Act only as you would have everybody act. "Act only in accordance with a maxim which you can at the same time freely will that it become a universal law." Treat yourself and others always as ends, never as means only. Do the right thing consistently, and do not be overly-prejudiced by personal advantages or disadvantages. In judging a possible course of action, ask: "What if everybody did that?" (universal pure reason based on synthetic a priori concepts of systematic unity, assuming freedom, God, and immortality).

Ultimately, rational individuals act in the faith that they can correctly assess both overall consequences and universal duty, in most situations of moral choice. Of course, there is no guarantee that this combination will lead to the "Summum Bonum" (All or Highest Good), which in this world may be defined as the human satisfactions of virtue, universal morality, and other utilities of happiness. However, these tests would seem to be the only adequate metaphysical vehicle available for constructing supreme moral virtues. This Triad of Moral Tests, or something very like it, could be part of the preamble to a new spirituality, reconciling many religious/cultural contradictions and opening theology up to reason.

A synthesis of the sometimes-contradictory world religions could be a general recipe for conflict resolution, if perpetual fighting between religions (or tyranny by any one of them) is to be avoided. We must put together a civilization recognizing One God based on universal metaphysics, psychology, philosophy, democracy, and world religion; but not on any one of the individual religions, which ever take only a partial view, by themselves.

Kant's moral argument may be stated quite simply: God is not directly apparent in the phenomenal material world, but may exist in a noumenal spiritual realm. Since humans can 'know' nothing directly about the noumenal realm, the existence of God cannot be 'proven' beyond a doubt. However, to account for moral feelings of conscience, the existence of objective moral law, and the rationality of pursuing the highest good (universal morality as a means to greatest happiness) we must assume the existence of God.

Note that the moral law springs from pure reason, and the necessity of God is only a demand of practical reason. It is a bit of an insult to a man's character and personal virtue, as well as his understanding of reason, to require his sworn allegiance to God in order to trust him (as philosopher John Locke suggested). Without prejudice, we must assume that the rational disbeliever, as well as the doubting believer, will act as if some sort of divinity exists, recognizing (if only obscurely or unconsciously) that the moral law (the universal categorical imperative of pure reason) is the absolute upon which the whole of law and justice are grounded, and that without God, nothing is Absolute, but all is relative.

You don't have to believe in God in order to be moral, but it helps. After all, it is only from the rational unity of One God (creating all humankind equal); that we know unequivocally that morality must take a universal view. Unfortunately, atheism is sometimes an invitation to, as well as a licence for, ethical relativism; and a self-centred materialistic morality, which is only universal when convenient, or a matter of personal taste (character virtues, values, and goodwill).

Nevertheless, all human beings seem to have an innate inner spirit of conscience, which distinguishes right from wrong. Conscience recognizes that reason cannot command us to obey the moral law in our pursuit of the highest good (greatest happiness via impeccable ethics), unless we can eventually achieve that goal. But, one life is too short to do that. To explain the existence of universal moral law (objective moral imperatives), and the undeniable feelings of moral conscience, as well as the rationality of always pursuing the highest good (in spite of the unlikelihood of achieving it without significant supernatural help); requires the assumption of what Immanuel Kant called the three postulates of practical reason: freedom, God, and immortality.

The personal pursuit of the highest good - happiness commensurate with the moral probity of the individual human soul, as well as the ethical integrity of a postulated World-Soul or Allsoul - is a duty we owe to ourselves and everyone else. But right away there is a problem. Due to insufficient time for training and experience, in a single life, we cannot achieve very much personal progress in practicing virtue, and becoming morally worthy. Indeed, for our society as a whole, one generation is clearly insufficient. Perfect virtue cannot emerge, let alone be adequately exercised and tested, in only a few incarnations.

Furthermore, the man whom many think best represents the World-Soul was crucified, and his exalted conception of moral law is not going to get us very far, if the basis of his teachings is untrue. Consequently, we must suppose that his "Father" (the Deity Absolute), not only exists transcendently, in the realm of existential noumena; but also exists actually, by way of reflection (Jesus Christ), in the world of experiential phenomena; and that an afterlife of some sort is the destiny of all humankind.

At first thought, it would seem likely to be disruptive and unproductive to promote immature souls onward to heaven (let alone paradise), with defective and incomplete training from this world. Once is not enough! Some kind of reincarnation is needed.

On the other hand, early resurrection to some sort of intermediate school might be more helpful. Either way, future lives must be available, or it is difficult to see how we could ever approach sufficient virtue to realize much happiness (if indeed, greatest happiness is highly correlated to flawless moral practice, and the maintenance of a clear conscience).

It is for the highest theoretical and practical reasons of systematic unity that we will that the maxim of our actions should conform to a universal law. This objective moral law - the categorical imperative - is expressed personally in the Golden Rule; Do as you would be done by others. In regard to any action of moral significance, this rule prompts the personal question: "How would you like it if somebody did that to you?" In more general terms, the universal categorical imperative boils down to; Act as you would have everyone act, which suggests the universal question regarding the morality of any contemplated action: "What if everybody did that?"

"If we take our stand on moral unity as a necessary law of the universe, and from this point of view consider what is necessary to give this law adequate efficiency, and for us, obligatory force, we must come to the conclusion that there is one only Supreme Will, which comprehends all these laws in itself… This will must be omnipotent… omniscient… omnipresent… eternal… and so on." Critique of Pure Reason - I. Kant, P.A814/B842.

Kant does not say that morality always requires faith in the existence of God. Even cynical disbelievers may still be very moral persons due to good character disposition, upbringing, training, etc., as well as indwelling virtues, and a largely unconscious faith in high moral norms. Nevertheless, while virtue may be its own reward, if there is no truly objective morality, no categorically absolute imperative, and no Summum Bonum or highest good (greatest happiness in consonance with perfected personal ethics and universal morality), then moral maxims become relative to fashion, personal inclination, and passion; rather than reason.

Kant says only that One God is an absolutely necessary postulate to provide an objective basis of "adequate efficiency" for stable moral order, account for conscience, and achieve the ends of greatest happiness associated with impeccable ethics and lofty universal morality, i.e., the pursuit of the happiness of everyone, including yourself. Kant held that what reason requires must exist, at least as a construction of reason, in order for the world to be perceived as rational and coherent, e.g. space/time, cause/effect, mathematics, logic, sufficient reason... moral law, and God.

Part of the argument is that if there is no ultimately objective standard of morality (no God), then our constructs of moral reason have no basis, other than our feelings about their goodness. Then, moral maxims must be a matter of taste and muddled reason; and then there is no sound foundation for world-wide law and justice. But if there is no absolutely universal basis for morality (that most people can at least dimly sense and recognize), then mediocre maxims become acceptable (e.g. When in Rome do as the Romans do... Look out for number one, and devil take the hindmost... etc.). Then ultimately, even anti-social maxims bespeaking elitist attitudes are no longer not questioned, but are respected, and even celebrated by some (e.g., David Hume's famous moral question: "Why should I not prefer the destruction of worlds, to the scratching of my finger?" - What's it to me?).

Thus, we conclude that we must assume that there is One God upholding the absolute universal law of justice, mercy, and ethical behaviour; which is expressed in the personal Golden Rule (taught by Buddha, Jesus, Muhammad, and many others), as well as in the universal moral law of the One Categorical Imperative enunciated by Kant. This is the common denominator of the highest expression of objective morality, and we take it from Hegel that the highest idea is the absolute of its kind, and the Absolute of all kinds is God.

It should be noted that although "moral unity is a necessary law of the universe," practical reason demands that we allow strict duty to narrow truths to be modified, in unforeseen emergencies or exceptional cases, by overall utility; in order to achieve a justifiable compromise leading to the highest pure practical moral result, which may be countenanced personally, publicly and universally.

"It may on occasion... be right to evade or disregard the duties of truthfulness and fidelity. We must look back to the fundamental principles of justice... first, to harm no one, and second, to serve the common good... It may happen, for instance, that to keep a certain promise or compact would be disadvantageous either to the one to whom the promise was made, or to him who made it... You should, therefore, not keep promises that would be harmful to those to whom you made them; or if to keep them would hurt you more than it would help the other. It is no violation of duty to put the greater good ahead of the smaller." On Duty: Selected Works of Cicero - H. M. Hubbell, P.332.

This is where personal and public judgment of competing duties enters the picture, but there are many subtle rationalizations here, and a policy of transparent communication solves most moral problems, so beware of lying; for as you judge, so may you be judged.

METAPHYSICAL SUMMARY

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 explained. However, by the principle of the dialectical synthesis of great antinomies or contradictions, it is logically necessary that from the beginning, both of these 'first' two absolutes of personal consciousness must have been associated with each other in a third absolute coordinate dimension of consciousness - their totality - 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 energy of the rational notion of each other, pulling themselves up by their own bootstraps, so to speak.

In cosmological terms, these categories may be regarded as three necessary and co-eternal dimensions or absolutes of creation, forming the systematic unity of One God infinitely manifest in the Trinity Absolute - popularly spoken of as heaven, earth, and all that is. In abstract terms, the creative Trinity is united in the three compensating Absolutes, i.e.: the noumenal Deity Absolute, the phenomenal Universe Absolute, and their coordinate Unconditioned Absolute Source/Synthesis or Spirit of All That Is.

In his famous metaphor (Republic: Bk. VII) comparing experiential reality to flickering shadows cast on the wall of the "cave" in which humankind is chained, Plato suggested not only that the Many are a pale reflection of the One "existent(ial)" Idea, but that humans can break their chains, "see" the existential ideal realm in relation to the experiential material 'reality,' and leave the cave in the light of both - "the one intelligible and the other visible." When their eyes have adjusted, philosophers bring the wisdom of their "journey dialectic" back to the cave for the enlightenment of their fellow men. Plato argued that the 'idea' is most real because it is based on reason, while the so-called 'real' world is based mostly on indeterminate experience, opinion, and illusion.

While positing a basic metaphysics of duality, Plato recognized that three is the minimum number required to compose a system, and that the union of two things is rightly a third thing - "a mixture of them both." He identified or implied a number of triunities which express this fundamental metaphysic as the synthesis of a dialectic, e.g., one/many/all; limit/limited/unlimited; being/not-being/becoming; etc. Aristotle (harking back to Pythagoras) is reported to have said that three represents All (synthesis of the One and the Many), and hence is "the perfect number."

The abstract idea of Trinity Absolute may be considered as the rational nucleus around which creation precipitates, out of nothing but the 'force' of pure practical reason. Trinity would seem to be the one and only adequate metaphysical vehicle of creation.

In more specific terms, the circle of creation may be conceived as complete unto itself, in three absolute and systematic coordinates, phases, or dimensions of separate but united co-creative expression, i.e.: the existential idea, its experiential reflection, and their synthesis in unconditioned consciousness. That synthesis is the ultimate combination reflected in the Middle Path of Buddha, the Great Way of Lao Tzu, and the Moral Spirit of World Religions in general. That consummate Spirit is the Unconditioned Absolute ultimate destiny and primeval counterpart of the ideal Deity Absolute conjoined with the real Universe Absolute. And these Three Absolutes of Creation provide a systematic unity of One God first, foremost, and forever in Trinity manifestation.

Adding personal functional terms, the definition of the Trinity concept may be expanded to include the transcendent Deity Absolute Creator/Benefactor or Prime Being, his immanent Universe Absolute Supreme Being or Almighty Universe Allsoul, and their ultimate Unconditioned Absolute Spirit Source Synthesis - All That Is - the Destiny Consummator or Being of All Beings. In creative terms, these three compensating coordinates or postulated personae are co-equal and co-eternal. The Prime Creator, his Supreme Being, and their absonite Consummate Identity are not three gods, but three phases, expressions, or manifestations of One God - absolute, supreme, and ultimate.

In summary, the three Absolutes of potentiality or creation are existential, experiential, and absonite. The third realm is a synthesis of the first and second - an ultimate development, but also a primeval potential, in cosmological terms. As a matter of metaphysical balance, existential and experiential consciousness must emerge from, as well as mix/mingle/meld in, their unconditioned associative consciousness, which is their ultimate source and sink. This synthetic principle is the third of three intimately related compensating coordinates of creation, which compose a comprehensive systematic unity in the Trinity of One God.

Although an oversimplification in many ways, the number three is the first common denominator and birthmark of some very fundamental categories of reality, for example:

1) The cosmology of physical space in three basic dimensions of manifestation, i.e. length, breadth, and height or depth;

2) The geometry of the Pythagorean triangle closed in a compound synthesis, (Z2 = X2 + Y2);

3) The division of time into three separate but related dimensions of experience, i.e. past, present, and future;

4) The existence of substance in three states of matter, i.e. solid, liquid, and gas;

5) The relationship between force, mass, and acceleration, (F = ma);

6) The three fundamental phases or states of electro-magnetism, i.e. positive, negative, and neutral (proton, electron, and neutron);

7) The relationship between energy, matter, and light, (E = MC2);

8) The psychology of the human soul in three essential aspects of being, i.e. personality or ego self-consciousness, mind or id - conscious and unconscious, and spirit or superego - unconscious even superconscious;

9) The theology or divine formula of the nature of One God in the three abstract coordinates of the Trinity Absolute, which may be defined as the existential Deity Absolute Prime Creator (Benefactor), his experiential Universe Absolute Supreme Being (Almighty Allsoul), and their ultimate absonite Unconditioned Absolute Spirit of All That Is (Source/Synthesis). This is also defined in the Christian interpretation as the Holy Trinity of three persons - Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, as well as in the Hindu Trimurti of Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva;

10) The psychology of world religion in three major views or cultural attitudes, i.e.: Muslims and Jews may be said to worship the first person of the Trinity - the Deity Absolute; Christians and Vishnuvite Hindus tend to worship the first person through the second person - the Universe Absolute - Christ or Krishna; while Shaivite Hindus and some Buddhists and Confucian-Taoists tend to venerate the first and second persons through the third person - the "Unconditioned," Consummate Absolute, or Tao of All That Is (and is not).

In short, the multidimensional nature of One God in Trinity manifestation is reflected in the religious pluralism of the world, and human psychology itself, as well as the metaphysics of space, time, matter, mechanical force, and electro-magnetic energy.

Metaphysically, systematic unity would seem to require a minimum of three coordinate absolutes of potential - the Trinity Absolute - or something very like it. In religious terms, Trinity is the first three dimensions of God, who is multi-dimensional, yet One.

The idea of One God present in the three counter-balancing coordinates of the Trinity Absolute may be the first adequate and only necessary metaphysical vehicle for the creation of anything and everything, including the Trinity itself, out of nothing more than pure and practical reason.

The key concept is the balancing of contradictions, particularly the great antinomies, the greatest of which is God and not-God. The idealist philosophers Immanuel Kant and Georg Hegel have shown that the thesis of religion and the antithesis of science may logically be reconciled in the wisdom of their synthesis - consummation of the existential divine idea and experiential universe reality. Moreover, the spirit of their synthesis is evident not only in the threefold metaphysics of space, time, matter, and energy; but also in the three-part psychology of the human soul, and in the multi-dimensional theology of major religions, which reflect the members of the Trinity Absolute and its variations or combinations, when looked at in relation to each other and the One God they portray.

This inclusive pluralistic world-view may be the absolute highest idea of its kind because it is patterned after the highest of all kinds, which is the systematic unity of One God in Trinity expression. In particular, this unity may be conceived as God manifestly reflected in three basic religious psychological attitudes, supplemented by similar or related content in a number of other major religions, philosophies, and cultures.

While based only on indeterminate evidence, this argument represents the potential recognition of an almost Universal Consensus of beliefs, which are compatible, but only seem to contradict. The most widely known, example of such a cosmic contradiction is the theory that light is both a wave and a particle. These ideas apparently conflict, but logically differ only in respect to their relationship to reality and each other. In cosmological and nuclear physics, the eventual synthesis of all such antinomies or dichotomies into a "general unified theory of everything" is assumed to be probable, as a systematically necessary matter of pure and practical reason. The Trinity Absolute could provide a good starting point.

At the very least, the existence of a simple, coherent, systematic basis for a consensus of world religions suggests the high probability that these religions really can be regarded as just different reflections of the same Ideal, and therefore they may eventually lend themselves to some sort of reconciliation.

Another way of looking at the Trinity may be found in the "Zen riddle" posed by Hegel's problem of the synthesis of thesis and antithesis - the resolution of the 'non-resolvable' - the quest for the ultimate in dialectical logic and metaphysics. The very paradox of the idea of Trinity seems to be the polarizing force which results in that primeval eruption of threefold power or energy, with which creation began.

Part of the paradox is that the Unqualifiable Absolute cannot be qualified directly. Buddha referred to this inexpressible dimension as neither existence, nor non-existence, but a "middle path" in relation to both. Similarly, the "great way" of the yin and the yang composed in the Tao of All That Is comes close to expressing the Unconditioned.

The Trinity Absolute is built on the idea of the resolution of metaphysical contradictions through their composure in a consummate identity which is neither the thesis, nor the antithesis, but a synthesis. The secret of this riddle is that both sides of a dichotomy may be true, but differ only in respect of certain characteristics which may more or less comfortably subsist. In many minor contradictions, one or both of the premises are largely mistaken. However, in the realm of metaphysics, both sides of the great antinomy of God and Not-God (theology and science) are ultimately true, in different respects.

Furthermore, both are necessary to the first metaphysical vehicle of creation - the Trinity Absolute. In that Trinity, the persona of the one is not the persona of the other. However, the spirit of the Many being a reflection of the spirit of the One, logic expects their consummate spirit - the Spirit of All That Is - to be the same generic spirit, but mutually glorified in a third absolute person - a synthesis of the divine and the mundane in unity of spirit, and universality of mind.

This elegant idea is somewhat comparable to the concept of the Supreme Allsoul as a synthesis or "marriage" of the souls of all individual human beings "in Christ" (St. Paul). Just as the third member of the Trinity is a consummation and union of the 'first' two members in the Unconditioned All That Is (which precedes them impersonally, as well as succeeds them as a personal entity), so the world Allsoul is an association and melding of all human souls (which also do not lose, but gain personal identity in the Supersoul).

It is something very remarkable that the principles of reason appear to exist with no discernible support, except reason itself. Pure reason would seem to be self-existent, depending on nothing and created only by itself, out of nothing but itself. Therefore it seems logical to suggest that reason is the essence of the Absolute. But this emphasis on the divine mind overlooks the importance of the personality and spirit coordinates of God. A more articulate estimation is conceived in the Greek concept of the perichoresis or "dance" of the persons of the Trinity - the procession or "progress" within the Trinity - whereby their cosmological functions of creation, as well as their psychological characteristics of personality, mind, and spirit seem to be appropriated individually at certain times, and in certain respects, yet are ultimately shared in the larger analysis.

DEMONSTRATION OF TRINITY IN BOOK FORM

Chapter One of this research paper presents some background and arguments for Religious Pluralism, highlighting the strong parallels between all major religions and individual members of the Trinity Absolute. Chapter Two describes and documents the history and development of the concept of the Universe Absolute Supreme Being, Allsoul, Supersoul, or Oversoul. Christian and Krishnan panentheism is the key to religious pluralism for many. Having absorbed that understanding, then the other major religions quite naturally present themselves as overlapping representations of the Absolutes on either side of Christ, in the circle of the Trinity.

Chapter Three presents summary arguments for the thesis: God exists, and Chapter Four for the antithesis: God does not exist. These chapters give only a synopsis of the main arguments.

Chapter Five attempts to explain the metaphysical basis of the synthesis of existential Deity and experiential Universe, God and not-God, the divine and the mundane, theology and science; in the totality of All That Is. The triadic structure of thesis and antithesis resolved in synthesis is demonstrated to be the essential paradigm for the solution of the great cosmic mystery of One God in Trinity manifestation.

The Trinity thus defined abstractly is the One Absolute manifest in three absolute metaphysical coordinates or phases of conscious expression - the Three Absolutes of Creation, i.e.: the existential Deity Absolute Creator, or Prime Being; his experiential Universe Absolute Supreme Being, or Almighty Allsoul; and their ultimate Unconditioned Absolute Spirit "Synthesis of Source and Synthesis" - the Being of All Beings - All That Is (and is not).

For example, in ontological terms, trinity is being, not-being, and becoming. In mathematical terms, trinity is one, many, and all. In abstract terms, trinity is condition, conditioned, and unconditioned.

In psychological terms, trinity is personality, mind, and spirit. In moral terms, trinity is duty, utility, and ethical choice. In practical terms, trinity is freewill, determination, and action.

In conscious terms, trinity is infinite existential, finite experiential, and limitless associative consciousness. In theological terms, Trinity is the transcendent Deity Divine, his immanent Supreme Being, and their ultimate Absonite Spirit. In cosmic personal terms, Trinity is One God manifest in three expressions or persons, united in spirit and universal in mind, but especially integrated in multi-dimensional personality - the creatively unified nature of God.

The metaphysical dynamics of the Trinity Absolute are derived from the work of the great philosophers, especially Immanuel Kant on the synthesis of the transcendental dialectic of pure reason. We have the authority of Kant for the following three important concepts of the understanding:

1) God. There is a threefold foundation of six arguments for the existence of God: 1. The Cosmological and Teleological arguments from determinate experience; 2. The Religious Experience and Universal Consensus arguments from indeterminate experience; 3. The Ontological and Moral arguments by abstraction from all experience (i.e., from synthetic a priori concepts of pure reason alone).

2) Trinity. There are three dimensions of relation which direct the employment of the understanding in experience, and by means of which the understanding thinks: 1. The categorical synthesis in a thinking subject (the I am); 2. The hypothetical synthesis in a series of the sum total of all appearances (the world or universe); 3. The disjunctive synthesis of parts in a system (the categorical and the hypothetical, being neither just the one nor only the other, but conjointly coordinate in all respects).

In general, there is a threefold synthesis of the one, the many, and the all, in an absolute unity: 1. The subject; 2. The sum total of all appearances; 3. The thing which contains the (unconditioned) possibility of "all that is" capable of being thought. For Kant, Trinity is the Absolute object of the ideal of reason, the members of which were termed by Kant: 1. Primal Being; 2. Supreme Being; 3. Being of All Beings.

3) Soul. Human soul is a threefold substance, i.e.: 1. Immaterial substance object of internal sense (ego or personality); 2. Personal intellectual substance (mind); 3. Incorruptible simple substance (immortal spirit). In summary, it may be said that the human Soul is an immaterial immortal substance of individual personality, personal mind, and incorruptible pre-personal spirit.

Taking our cue from Kant, we may speculate that the 'incorruptible pre-personal spirit' of the human soul shows itself as an individual moral conscience or "thought adjuster" in the soul, which is a spark of that same divine Spirit which completes the Trinity and is not the spirit of the first person, nor the spirit of the second person, but the glorious Consummate Spirit Identity of both - the mysterious Unconditioned Spirit of All That Is.

On the other hand, in Christian terms, since the spirit of the Son is a reflection of the spirit of the Father, then the glorified Spirit of both is initially as well as ultimately that same basic spirit that is from the Father, through the Son, and magnified coordinately.

Any way you look at it, spirit completes the soul, just as spirit closes the first circle of creation, culminating in the "procession" of the Glorified Spirit, thereby forming the Trinity - an abstract nucleus of all existence constructed on the basis of the metaphysical necessities of reason reconciling natural contradictions and personality conflicts (which are potential even between divine persons). These internal viewpoints must be reconciled and harmonized, through the recognition of a third person or "mutual" unconditioned absolute consciousness, balancing divine and universal consciousness in a systematic unity.

The multidimensionality of One God would also account for a certain amount of psychological predisposition for individuals to identify their personality and inner spirit with any one, any combination, or all members of the Trinity; and to express this in their religions. If they differ, it is perhaps only in cultural personality and scriptures, not in their underlying spirit of good will, nor really even in rational mind when it comes to universal reason.

In abstract terms of pure reason, One God must always have existed, at least potentially, in three dimensions of manifestation - the Three Absolutes of Creation - without which there would be nothing. The ancient Platonic mystery of the one, the many, and the all is reflected in the Trinity Absolute trinomial formula of systematic unity through the thesis of the Deity Absolute, and the antithesis of the Universe Absolute, reconciled in the synthesis of the Unconditioned Absolute binomial totality of All That Is.

The Absolutes of Creation are One God in an indivisible systematic union of three phases, expressions, or "persons" of absolute rational and spiritual unity, i.e.:

(1) Deity Absolute: the transcendent divine necessary existential condition - Prime Being - the categorical ideal thinking synthesis in a subject (thesis) - the I am personified as the Primogenitor Creator or Creation Inceptor - the initial Sponsor and Benefactor of all.

(2) Universe Absolute: the immanent universal sufficient conditioned synthesis in an experiential series - Supreme Being - the hypothetical (postulated) series of the manifold object and sum total of all appearances of reality as an empirical whole (antithesis) - the I am personified as the Supreme Allsoul or Almighty Universe Allperson - the Demonstrator and Co-sponsor in and for all.

(3) Unconditioned Absolute: the transcendent/immanent necessary sufficient unconditioned synthesis in a system - Being of All Beings - the disjunctive co-ordinate fusion and holistic system of all things in general, including the condition and the conditioned, in the unconditioned and unqualified totality of All That Is, and all objects of thought in general (synthesis) - the I am personified as the Ultimate Synthesis of Source and Synthesis or Absonite Associative* Spirit Source/Sink - the Destiny Consummator and Harmony Coordinator with all.

*Note that God does not have associates, for He is His associates, and truly "Allah has ninety-nine names."

In some English translations of the Qur'an (4:171 & 5:73), Allah seems to scoff at the Trinity, in effect denying his own creation. Thus, Muslims seem to be precluded from seeing themselves as the "adopted" children of God, as most Christians do. Nor are they connected to the Paramatman (Supersoul or Allsoul), as in Hinduism, also known as the Supreme Being in Christianity. Nor are they encouraged to recognize the significance of the Buddhist unconditioned Middle Path to Nirvana, and the Taoist synthesis of the Great Way of the yin and yang.

But this negative interpretation is based on a well-known misunderstanding. The 'trinity' dismissed by Muhammad in the Qur'an is not the Holy Christian Trinity, but 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 which says, "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?"

Indeed, the second person of One God - the Universe Absolute Allsoul or Supreme Being is perhaps best expressed by Christ, whom many feel has earned the experiential sovereignty of the world, if not the whole universe. Muhammad and Buddha are close runners-up, and in their own way superb in teachings and character. But Mary was not the Holy Ghost - third member of the Trinity - the Unconditioned Absolute Spirit, who is better explained, as well as better represented by Buddha and others.

It must be noted that the psychology and character of Muhammad may more exclusively reflect the first absolute person (Allah or Abba), than does Jesus, who represents not only God, but also us, as we are members of Christ's Supreme Allsoul consciousness. Also, Lao Tzu's synthesis of the opposites of yin and yang in the Tao or Great Way is almost as helpful an expression of the Third Absolute, as Buddha's "unconditioned" cosmic consciousness of Nirvana - the Spirit of "All That Is, and is not" - the mysterious Holy Ghost.

In so far as these are all just perspectives on the same One God, reason authorizes us to regard either Muhammad, Jesus, Buddha and others (or all of them) as the Supreme Being of God, "who in a face to face meeting on the Day of Return (Judgment Day)… will enlighten us as to all that wherein we have differed," as the Qur'an puts it.

Religious Pluralists are not making up names of Allah, but merely translating his name into the other major religious languages of humankind - Christian, Hindu, and others - which, together with Islam, correspond to the three metaphysical absolutes of creation, and the psychology of the human soul, among other fundamental things.

Buddhist and Neo-Confucian interpretations of the Middle Path and the Tao (Great Way) always imply a third option between (or combining) two extremes - abstract metaphors for the same metaphysics seen from other points of view; obliquely in the Christian Trinity, and confusedly in the Hindu Trimurti. In Christianity, the third coordinate is the distinct counterpart identity of the other two extremes or absolutes, in a synthesis of both the first and second spirit expressions of God, which are ultimately unified in their doubly glorious Spirit, and personalized in the presence of their universal mind.

This mystery persona - the Co-relative or Consummate Coordinate - is that holistic appearance of God surreptitiously acknowledged by Sufi Muslims, and obscurely recognized by most Christians, but inspiringly portrayed in world religions by Hindus, Buddhists, Confucian-Taoists, and others. This third Coordinate Absolute may also be regarded as a middle path between, or great way combining, the two alternative views of monotheism represented by: (a) Muslims (and Jews), and (b) Christians (and Krishnan Hindus).

Trinity may be the only philosophical inevitability - the Absolute manifesting in three personae or coordinates of creation: the Paradise Creator, his Universe Demonstrator, and their Superuniverse Consummator. Already evolving to supreme levels of development, it would seem to be manifest human destiny to explore ultimate realms reaching even to absolute expressions, which themselves 'initiate' the process.

I cannot think that evil has created the universe, but I can think that 'goodness' may be the Absolute in its most abstract form. Then, I can only imagine that there must be One God who is all-good, the best, even supremely perfect and ultimately absolute. I see evidence of His work all around me. I notice His moral commandment: "Do as you would be done by others," written in my soul. In my own experience I sometimes feel a great sense of communion with Him and I am inspired to write, or even sing. I notice that others seem to believe the same things and have similar or analogous experiences.

On the other hand, sometimes I think that my ideas of God are supremely contradictory, largely absurd, and mostly incomprehensible. The idea of God is beset with contradictions of good and evil, freewill and determination, cause and effect, etc.

I have difficulty conceiving the third Absolute as a person, even a spirit person, as seems to be required by the symmetry of the Trinity Absolute. My understanding of the evidence around me is incomplete and inconclusive. The history of religions is full of absurdities and there seems to be no clear consensus of beliefs. Indeed, the experience of God is unclear and indistinct, which gives every indication of defective knowledge.

Nevertheless, I take heart when I notice great philosophers (notably Plato, Kant and Hegel) have shown that conceptually there is metaphysical possibility, even need, for a synthesis of the most significant of all antinomies (contradictions) - theology and science, God and not-God. These and other philosophers from the Greeks on down support the contention that, just as small contradictions may be seen to be complementary in some respects, and therefore subject to profitable synthesis; similarly, as a matter of pure and practical reason, the greatest of all antinomies may subsume all the rest, both the transcendently ideal and the immanently real, in the sublime probability.

What may be contradictory and absurd to ordinary reason and elementary logic harmonizes in a higher synthesis, which is expressed in the dialectic of the dynamical and mathematical antinomies. The absolutely infinite and the absolutely finite are united in the limitless absonite, This is itself a separate absolute principle, forged in the counterpoint of apparent opposition, proceeding to the harmony of coordination, and completing the cycle of creation, begun by the first two absolutes of reason, hauling themselves up by their own bootstraps, so to speak, apparently out of nothing but the notion of themselves and each other.

At the metaphysical and cosmological levels, thesis and antithesis must be resolved in synthesis - the one and the many must be composed in the all. From pure synthetic a priori reasoning, Deity Absolute ideality and Supreme Universe Absolute actuality must be united in Ultimate Associative Being, i.e., condition and conditioned must be synthesized in their consummate coordinate - the Unconditioned and Unqualified Absolute. Logically, these three Absolutes must be One God, personally complete and replete, in the hypostasis of the Trinity Absolute.

While it might be less contentious to refer only to the three abstract manifestation or expressions of the Trinity, it is also proper to call them personae or persons because whatever more and whatever else God may be, He must also be a person. Otherwise, He would be subhuman or infra-human. On the contrary, He is the absolute, supreme, and ultimate personality unified in the gestalt of the thrice-personal One God.

If this Trinity were not past-eternal in the potentiality of the Absolutes and the Grand Universe, then nothing would have come into existence, and nothing would exist now. As humans experience and understand finite growth in progressive Universe Absolute manifestation of supreme being, so analogously, the Deity may 'grow' by divine expansions or unfoldings of infinite timeless realization, wherefore their Spirit of Source/Synthesis is always a limitless work in progress. Ultimately and inevitably, the primordial dream of the Deity Absolute, the Supreme Being, and the Holy Spirit must become existentially, experientially, and gloriously true in all respects, even if it takes forever.

Those who are convinced of the existence of God should find some sections of Chapter Three very edifying. Similarly, those convinced that God does not exist will find arguments in Chapter Four strongly defending that view. Even higher praise might apply to the synthesis of these greatest of all antinomies argued in Chapter Five; because the successful construction of such a synthesis, especially the metaphysical, theological, and psychological foundations for it, could provide a blueprint for peace through progress in answering the fundamental questions of the nature of God, humankind, and the all that is.

Chapter Six gives ample authority for, and history of, the view that the human soul is a tripartite entity composed of personality, mind, and spirit. Specifically in psychology, the 'substance' of the human soul may be conceived as a triunity of (1) personality or ego self-consciousness, (2) mind or id - conscious and unconscious, and (3) spirit or superego - unconscious even superconscious.

However, it is not quite as clear how the human soul may be modeled on the Trinity. It seems that the individual personality may, with equal logic, adopt any persona of the Trinity as a religious point of view, or some of them, or all of them - in what might technically be called "psychological perichoresis," akin to Religious Pluralism.

For example, if the human person is said to be in the 'image' of the Deity, the mind may be compared to the Supreme, and then the spirit in the human soul would be analogous to the Infinite Spirit. Thus, the threefold human soul may be seen as: (1) the free will of the personality like unto the Prime Being, (2) the logical mind of the individual endowment of reason comparable to the Supreme Being, and (3) the conciliating spirit of the moral conscience identified with the Infinite Spirit.

On the other hand, if a spark of the spirit of God the Father indwells and adopts us as His sons and daughters, then the first coordinate of the Trinity is represented in the human soul by the spirit of the Great Creator, and the personality may be comparable to either the second or third coordinates. Thus, for example, the Trinity may be mirrored in the attributes of the human soul as: (1) spirit of the Great Benefactor, (2) personality of the Supreme Universe Allperson, and (3) mind of the Ultimate Totality of All That Is.

A third way of looking at the human soul might draw a comparison of: (1) reason and logic in the mind of the Prime Being, (2) will and intent in the personality of the Supreme Being, and (3) moral conscience and intuition in the spirit of the Destiny Consummator or Being of All Beings.

Thus, we arrive at the hypothesis that the souls of humankind may have a psychological predisposition or predilection to one of at least three different points of view about God. At the same time, we conceive that God may be experienced by all, as the spirit endowment of the human soul, i.e. that advisory conscience of the personality, "thought adjuster" of the mind, and indwelling divine spirit or God-heart of each human being.

Chapter Seven presents some paradigms of morality as context to the moral worldview outlined near the beginning of the Preview. Chapter Eight presents some further thoughts on the concept of the Trinity Absolute, some Christian views, a brief history of the Trinity, and a synopsis of orthodox Christian beliefs, which may also be highly provocative and even more persuasive, being an elaboration of the synthesis introduced in Chapter Five.

By way of explicating core concepts, beliefs, assumptions and source ideas, Chapter Nine presents three popular "new age" metaphysical revelations and speculations, in summary excerpts selected because they exemplify the counterpoint attitudes and parallel the dialectical structure of chapters 3, 4, and 5 of this book, i.e.:

(1) Dr. William Sadler and his unidentified "sleeping subject" dictating the Urantia (Earth) Book on the nature of God and the metaphysics of creation. The critique of the Urantia Book presented in Chapter 10.1 is a logical extension of the absolute theological "GOD" thesis of Chapter Three.

(2) Carlos Castaneda's mysterious shamanic mentor commenting on mystic stoicism and the experiential warrior. Castaneda was a pragmatic-minded professor of anthropology and researcher of consciousness, based on thoughtful personal experiment and direct experience, as well as painstaking research. His skeptical questioning attitude towards shamanism is thoroughly rational and scientific. His practical warrior teachings summarized in Chapter 10.2 are essentially a variation on the modern empirical school of analytical science and stoic philosophy, complementary to the experientially-based rational doctrine of the "NOT-GOD" antithesis in Chapter Four.

(3) Jane Roberts' inner personality Seth speaking on idealism and reincarnation, etc. Seth says, "You and your gods create each other." His teaching of "the universe as idea construction" is summarized in Chapter 10.3. This is a bridge belief fundamental to understanding the school of ultimate process philosophy - the inclusion of God and Not-God, theology and science, the transcendent and the mundane, inspiration and reason; in the unconditioned absolute concept of God as "ALL THAT IS," complementary to the dialectical synthesis in Chapter Five.

It is with the utmost embarrassment that I admit that the Urantia Book, stimulus for much of my own thinking on the metaphysics and cosmology of the Trinity, is also the clearest offender when it comes to racism. However, that raw black/white racism and divine-seed religion contained in the depths of the "pre-historical" section of the Urantia Book is so outrageous and egregious that, on reflection, it seems intended as a transparent parody of the same confused racial mythology, which may also be read into the Bible and the Qur'an.

Contributing to the problem of religious racism, it often seems that despite many sublime similarities, there remain irreconcilable confusions between various religious scriptures and 'revelations' regarding fundamental metaphors of divine metaphysics. Nevertheless, it may be consistently argued that, essentially most differences only seem to contradict due to misunderstanding, but in fact they all point to three basic views of the same God.

Chapter Ten presents a further critique of the Urantia Book, and Chapter Eleven gives a detailed Metaphysics of Synthesis, which has been saved for last (even though it is the basis of everything else). Many people find the necessary "heavy lifting" of long stretches of Immanuel Kant and other authorities, "like chloroform in print," as Mark Twain once remarked. Others will appreciate its inclusion, and review it first.

Among other things, this book tries to show that philosophically and psychologically, the creation is one, yet more than one, it is at least two; and must then be three to complete the circle or cycle of the creation of that One. Just so, God is One, but is understood and worshipped in three primary manifestations - the Trinity of the Deity, Universe, and Unconditioned Absolutes - by the great world religions, that is to say by the fundamental consciousness of almost all humankind taken together. This argument from Universal Consensus is the ultimate, and potentially the most persuasive proof that One God really does exist in something like the threefold form reflected in world religions. We see that He is over us, in us, and all around us, collectively, personally, and spiritually.

The Muslim Qur'an and Christian Bible are two views in search of a third. Reflections of that third view may be seen in the literature of the Hindus, Buddhists, Confucian-Taoists, and other religions. But alas, this triunity of the world's religions has not been sufficiently assimilated and articulated. Partial believers on all sides languish in isolation and tremble in indecision. Meanwhile, our gods really may be just different views of the same Divine Idea - One God - united in a Trinity, naturally reflected in world religions.

This is a unified artifact of pure practical reason and logical speculation, with immense pragmatic value for the construction of a universal civilization of freedom and justice with mercy for all, conceived in and under One multidimensional God. For the sake of the more rapid development of a proudly civilized, highly moral, thoroughly prosperous and ultimately happy society, we must assume such a God.

In the last analysis, it may be that Goodness is the One Abstract Absolute of pure reason, which is the basis of the Trinity - the threefold manifestation of the nature of One God in the prime formula or "Form of the Good," i.e. the Trinity Absolute. If so, then the absolute kingdom of Good could be some sort of transparently democratic 'meritocracy' based on the acceptance of religious pluralism, finding its supreme expression, and ultimate meaning, in the friendly fellowship of the good in all the different religions and traditions of the world.

It has been argued that the natural composition of the world's religions, expressed and apprehended as three individual personae, would seem to be reciprocal reflections approaching the understanding of One God, from multiple different religious points of view or psychological attitudes to the Absolute. Furthermore, the 'image' of God seems to be bestowed on humankind, not only in religions, but in the nature of the tripartite human soul. Coincidentally, the Trinity Absolute seems to be stamped on physical reality as a birthmark.

Even if, for many people, pure reason is not sufficient, practical reason authorizes us to assume that there is a Divine Being, and coaches us to behave "as if" God exists. Thus, practical reason (even more than pure reason) makes it a moral duty to conceive and follow the idea of religious pluralism and the Trinity of One God into a fully rational community of universal laws. This could be a United Nations (with limited veto powers), or something like it, dedicated to rational world comparisons of means and ends in the Summum Bonum (highest good - a happy, moral, and universal civilization), taking account of what is good in all religions.

Pure reason may prompt us to follow our personal spirit ideals, even to quick forgiveness, and non-resistant protest against evil; but practical reason tells us that publicly we must, at any particular time, "render to Caesar that which is Caesar's… tribute to whom tribute is due," (Luke 20:25, Rom. 13:7). Therefore, in justice, we must support good legitimate government and a United Nations struggle for human rights, to make the world safe for the tender ideals of peace and higher morality in all religions.

One God may be recognized in His Supreme Being, which to me is represented by Jesus Christ (amplified by Moses, Muhammad, Buddha, Lao Tzu, and some others). At the same time, I see His Father's absolute divinity in Allah (Abba, Brahma, and others), and Their ultimate mysterious expression in the unconditioned Spirit of many major religions. I have tried to show this balance in the following pages, and I wonder if this Trinity Absolute, or something very like it, could be the metaphysical basis for that peace which we all seek; through the sweet reason of religious pluralism and universal law, as seems logically self-evident and philosophically inevitable.

Samuel Stuart Maynes
Surrey, B.C., Canada
December, 2015.

Posted to: www.trinityabsolute.com, May 2016.

Please e-mail your comments or questions directly to: stumaynes@hotmail.com.

To go back to the beginning press "PREVIEW"