Trinity

Linked Glossary of Terms
(references to De Wijsbegeerte der Wetsidee, unless indicated. See concordance for correlation with pages in the New Critique. The concordance is in pdf format.)

Godhead Used by Eckhart.
One
Trinitarian
Trinity
Tri-Unity NC II, 63
Urgrund Boehme?

Dooyeweerd says that theology speaks of the Divine Tri-unity (the Trinity). In all these cases the numerical terms are obviously used in an analogical sense qualified by the modal adjective (NC II, 63). He also says that the unity in the supratemporal sense must not be understood as a logical unity.

Unlike Baader, Dooyeweerd does not give an extensive theological working out of the Idea of the Trinity. Perhaps this is because he wants to do philosophy and not theology. Perhaps it is due to his avoidance of all speculative metaphysics.

But Dooyeweerd’s view that we were created in the image of God, and that this implies an expressing and a referring, may also imply that the same expression and referring also takes place within the Trinity. Baader says that God, too, required embodiment or a “nature” in order to express Himself. Since Baader did not believe that the temporal world was required in order for God to express Himself [that was Schelling’s pantheistic view], then there must be a ‘nature’ within God in which this expression is given. Baader used Boehme’s idea of the Urgrund or Godhead, which expresses itself in the Trinity.

Baader adopts a triadic or Trinitarian structure as paradigm for totality; opposed to Schelling’s polarity of basic forces (Betanzos 43 ft 38). Trinity overcomes duality (Werke 1,205; 2,105; 7,159; 12,505; 15,447).

Jules Monchanin (in Mystique de l’Inde, mystère chrétien, Fayard, 1974) says that the problem of the One and the Many leads to the dilemma of monism vs. pluralism. If only the One is real, the result is monism. If only the Many are real, then there is pluralism. Other dilemmas that Monchanin believed resulted from this problem are personal/impersonal; monotheism/polytheism. Monchanin believed that only the idea of the Trinity goes beyond these dilemmas. In the Trinity there is neither only unity nor is there only diversity. Monchanin thought that the Vedantic idea of advaita [nondualism] was an equivalent Idea to that of the Trinity. Just as the Trinity is neither one nor three (it is not tritheism), so advaita is neither monism nor dualism. Reality surpasses our reasoning or logos. There is both unity and diversity. The fact that diversity is real also means that neither solipsism nor idealism are true. Monchanin was not the first to apply Trinitarian ideas to Hindu thought. Many years before, Brahmabandhav Upadhyaya (1861-1907) had done the same. He compared the Trinity to the Hindu idea of Saccidananda (Sat-chit-anandam,or Being-Consciousness-Bliss).

Monchanin’s Trinitarian ideas also explain his view of yoga. Yoga leads to the One, but is incomplete. It needs to be completed by the Christian revelation of the Trinity. For Monchanin, mysticism is the participation in the Trinitarian relation. This mysticism is an intuition that surpasses image and concept, a direct experience, not made by humans, but given by God. In this Christian mysticism, the enstasy of yoga transubstantiates itself in the Spirit into pure ecstasy. The Hindu kevala, (aloneness, esseulé) is sublimated to Trinitarian thought after a “crucifying dark night of the soul”

Monchanin believed that advaita could not account for love in the sense of devotion (bhakti). Love involves a distinction between beings. According to advaita, love is in the realm of maya. But as soon as we say “God is love,” this is to confess a Trinity.

Monchanin liked to say that he would not be Christian if the Trinitarian revelation had not introduced him to a better knowledge of creation and of humans. The internal dynamism of Trinity and the infinite stability of the absolute alterity is reflected in creation, in the physical universe as well as in human sociability. In 1956, Monchanin said that Christian mysticism is Trinitarian or nothing.

Like Monchanin, Abhishiktananda specifically says that the Trinity solves the problem of the One and the Many:

Here at last we find resolved the antinomy of the One and the Many, which obsessed the thinkers of Greece, and also the antinomy of the an-eka and the a-dvaita, the not-one and the not-two, which obsesses the Indian seers. In the perspective of the Trinity one is never so profoundly close to oneself as in the heart of another (Saccidananda p. 185).

For Abhishiktananda, the doctrine of the Trinity helps us to avoid a both dualism and monism. The Word is both with God as well as God himself:

If the Word is God, we cannot say two (in a numerical sense) of him and the Father; there is no place left for any division, duality, dvaita of any kind. But if the Word is with God, then God is not a mere monad either (Saccidananda 84).

According to Abhishiktananda, the mystery of Being therefore transcends not only our thought but even numeration. Diary, p. 54 (10.9.52). Olivier Lacombe goes even further–the creation of the universe does not add anything to God, either:

“La philosophie chrétienne dit pareillement [à le Vedanta] que de la créature à Dieu et l’universe créé ne s’additionnent pas, ne font pas une somme, que l’existence du finit n’ajoute rien à l’Infini. “ (L’Absolu selon le Vedanta).

[Christian philosophy, like Vedanta, says that the relation of the creature to God and the created reality do not add together, that they do not make a sum. The existence of the finite does not add anything to the Infinite].

Abhishiktananda says that this experience of both identity and diversity is ineffable [a-nirvacaniya. Diary, p. 375 (17.4.73). It is not to be explained in terms of either unity or of difference. There is the non-unity of God and the human being. And there is their non-duality–and there is what is at the same time beyond non-unity and beyond non-duality (Diary, p. 101 (9.4.55). He says that this mystery of the trinity is something that India and even its most strong yogis could not discover. The Trinitarian experience goes beyond and transcends the experience of Hindu jñanis (Saccidananda 195).

The logical conclusion of Vedanta does not allow for the existence of humanity. It is only in the Trinity that the human being truly is. By the doctrine of the Trinity, we do not have to deny the many in order to affirm the One. (Appel à l’intériorité,”Intériorité, p. 175, ft. 47.)

The Self is ‘unique and non-dual’. But it is nevertheless revealed in the multiplicity of conscious beings. Both Brahman and Its manifestations are real. This reality of both the One and the Many is a mystery. For this mystery, the only appropriate word is advaita. It is not monism nor dualism but “that sheer mystery in which man, without understanding it at all, rediscovers himself in the depth of the heart of God. (Guru 42)

Revised Dec 27/04; Dec 24/16