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The “Triune God” is a common term for the unified understanding of God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Whether our language about God is insufficient, or our ability to comprehend the divine is limited, we hold true to the belief that God can simultaneously manifest himself in three parts while maintaining absolute unity. I believe it is important to note, when discussing the Triune God, that faith in the ideas regarding the trinity is more important than fully understanding its mysteries and complexities. The truths surrounding Christian doctrines of the Trinity include the immortal nature of God, the incarnation of God through Jesus, the actions of God on earth through the Holy Spirit, and the Biblical texts we have to guide us in our journey of understanding. Theologically, it is important to remember that all three parts of the Trinity have always existed and are constantly at work in the world. The most significant gift in our understanding of the Trinity is that we have (at least) three unique ways to have relationship with the divine. The most important relationship we can ever have is with our creator. Cultivating this relationship can be challenging without a basic understanding of God’s nature. While a scholarly understanding of the Trinity is essential for those in ordained ministry, a more functional understanding can be useful. Does a theological understanding of the Trinity matter in a life of faith? Yes. All relationships require a reciprocal element. If our goal is to have a relationship with our creator, than the logical thing to pursue is an understanding of how God comes into relationship with us. In Genesis 1, God spends time with Adam and engages him in conversation. In the Gospels, God interacts with humanity by entering the world in human form, and God is always acting on creation through the Holy Spirit as found in The Acts of the Apostles. As seekers of divine relationship, we are best served by having a complete picture of God as Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.B. Nature of Humanity On the 6th day of creation, God created humanity.  With the blessing of God, we were given dominion over the earth as stewards of the divine creation.  God chose to create humanity in the divine image and therefore shares in God’s likeness.  Although we are created in the image of God, we are not God.  As exemplified by the eating of the fruit and subsequent removal from the garden of eden, humanity can be immature and impulsive.  As William Willimon said, “Their sin is not damnable revolt and rebellion but rather the result of their weakness and immaturity.”  We were not created with an inner evil that draws us to disobey God.  It is our nature to grow in our knowledge, emotions, morality, spirituality, and experiences.  Without the proper guidance and grace given by our creator, our natural naivete can lead us to make mistakes. Not only do we make frequent mistakes, but we often barrel into them at full speed.  These mistakes are the result of our desire to move forward in life.  Much like humanity has advanced from stone to bronze to iron to steel, we make efforts to gain a better understanding of relationship with one another and the divine.  Unfortunately, it is this need for understanding that pushes us beyond our limitations into a sea of uncertainty.  We struggle with understanding the differences between our cultures, races, religions, and socioeconomic standing.  We become afraid of what we do not yet understand and lash out in our confusion and fear.  We seek revenge when we a wronged and yet forgiveness offers us a greater peace, we act in violence towards the things we fear and yet it is so often the love we offer to others that sustains peace, and after arrogance has caused us to fail we seek out a greater truth that humbles.  We are simultaneously capable of driving a tank over citizens and standing in front of that tank in defiance of tyranny.  Likewise, we are capable of both nailing Jesus to the cross while crying at his feet.  Rather than an Augustinian view of humanity as having fallen completely from goodness and thus in need of complete redemption through Christ, I see humanity as struggling through every choice and through every tragedy.  Therefore the event found in Genesis Chapter 3 is not emblematic of our natural evil but rather our natural response to the joys and trials of this life.  It is so often the case that we turn away from God when we have no need for him and become arrogant in our decisions.C. Sin and Evil Sin is the outcome of our distance from the creator in both body and spirit.  The further we allow ourselves to lose sight of God has direct implications on the existence of sin and evil.  Because God is the source of all that is good, it stands to reason that sin and evil exist in proportionally to the absence and/or presence of God.  Because we have been given the gift of free will it is our responsibility to hear God’s call that brings us into his presence and away from sin.  As Dr. White explains (Professor of Systematic Theology at Candler School of Theology), “Sin is basically the refusal to live in right relationship with God and other, the denial of God’s grace and the refusal to live in just and peaceful community that participates in and reflects God’s own life in communion.” Just as our individual decisions to leave the presence of God has its consequences in the evil it produces, the choices of society can lead to greater societal evil.  The decision of a denomination to refuse communion to particular members will result in those persons having a greater distance between themselves and God.  Likewise, the decision itself to make such a proclamation is outside the nature of God and therefore creates distance between the denomination and God.  

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