Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Perspective Modalism

Since my previous post was also about the Trinity, I thought I'd share what seems to be a unique theory that I held for a time during high school (I've never seen anyone support or even suggest a theory quite like it though it seems likely that someone somewhere has at least pondered this sort of thing before). As someone with a little knowledge of some philosophy, theology, and science (and an intense interest in both God and time), I thought this was a pretty good theory of how the Trinity worked - in fact, I thought that any sort of God that was also a creator necessarily had to be at least binitarian (Father and Spirit) and probably trinitarian given certain decisions by God to engage with his creation in a certain way (a proof of the Trinity via natural theology!). But then I read more about the Trinity and early church history and became convinced this was just another form of the modalist heresy and thereafter became convinced that my theory was probably not a good one and hence one to be abandoned.

So here's the view (which I'm calling Perspective Modalism now - though I didn't have a name for it back then): God is literally omnipresent and omnitemporal - literally wholly located at every point in space and time. But he is not simply contained in space and time but also transcends it and is in eternity outside of all space and time - God is infinitely immense. But God is not simply in all time and also outside it but he also travels through it - that is, he takes on a particular path through space and time as specially his own. So now God has three very different perspectives from which to see things and thus three very different modes in which his consciousness and patterns of thought, reasoning and activity exist - outside time, in all time, and enduring through time. And these three, differentiated in such a way and hence so different from one another can interact in various ways that a single consciousness from only a single perspective cannot and hence give rise to three separate persons in God - God the Father (aka God Outside of Time, aka God Transcendent), God the Holy Spirit (aka God Omnitemporal, aka God Immanent), and God the Son (aka God in Time, aka God Incarnate (that is, "incarnate" first as the Angel of YHWH and then in the flesh as Jesus Christ)).

One obvious problem with this sort of view is that it makes the members of the Trinity (other than the Father) contingent - if God had not created space and time then there would be no Son or Spirit and even if he did, if he had not chosen to live a temporal life within his creation then there would be no Son. Of course, God would still be there but he would not have these other perspectives and ways of thinking and being. There are probably other problems with this sort of view too, but that's one of the biggies that I thought I'd share.

2 comments:

Xavier said...

Hey, quite curious that you've had this view. I keep thinking something like this whenever I read William Craig on God and Time (though he would not in the least think I was acurately depicting his view):

Craig argues that God exists timelessly sans creation and temporally since creation. But it strikes me that the properties, intellectual states, etc., of these two would be so different, we would have to posit 2 different persons--albeit, persons with similar enough divine attributes properties. This would of course be just a binitarianism. God the Father would be the timelessly existing person. God the Son would be the one "begotten" as it were, since (in Craig's sense) creation. Mind you, this begetting would not be Arian, I think, because there was no time when He did not exist.

But this is wacky so I try not to say it in public :-)

Ian said...

Thanks xavier,

It's nice to see I'm not the only one who thinks up wacky things! :)