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Blasphemous and Obscene
August 9, 1945, Fat Man, a plutonium
bomb was dropped on the Japanese city of Nagasaki. Around 70, 000 people died
almost immediately. Within days of
two nuclear weapons being used on human populations the war in the Pacific came
to an end and with it World War II.
weeks before the Fat Man did its work,
US Army engineers for the first time in history detonated a nuclear device. This
took place at Alamogordo in New Mexico now self-titled as ‘The Friendliest
Place on Earth.’ The code name for this test shot was Trinity.
seems that the chief nuclear scientists in the project, Robert Oppenheimer, gave
it that name. He was an amateur Sanskrit scholar and thought it apt that he use
the term Trinity after
Hinduism’s divine Trinity: Brahma
(Creator), Vishnu (Preserver) and Shiva
witnessing the awesome destructive power of that first nuclear blast,
Oppenheimer quoted the words of Shiva
in the Bhagavad-Gita (the Sanskrit
the radiance of a thousand suns
was to burst at once in the sky,
that would be like the splendour of the Mighty One….
I am become Death
the destroyer of worlds.
allusion to the random devastation caused by the ‘gods’ became an obscene
reality when a scientific weapons test became the brutal, conscious existential
reality of unconditional warfare. Many of the scientists, including Oppenheimer,
who were involved in the Manhattan Project
soon became committed advocates of total nuclear disarmament.
not of the real God and something at the darker side of humanity was and is at
work in those things and they have nothing to do with life or love.
is reasonable to suggest that the level of outrage and protest against the
development and use of
nuclear weapons under the name of a deity originated from a sense that
humanity itself has done something obscenely anti-human, something that reflects
nothing of the grandeur or reality of who God really is. Perhaps, the perverse Trinity
device serves the purpose of a counter symbol and invites us into a deeper and
more graceful reflection on what the
Trinity of Christianity is not
and on who the Triune God really is.
Sublime and the Gracious
the earliest days of post Pentecost Christianity its adherents have been
welcomed, baptised and commissioned in the name of Father,
Son and Holy Spirit. But
reflection on the One God with three names did not begin to develop in a vacuum.
The original source of Trinitarian knowledge originated in the experience of
Jesus by his followers and by those who came after them. They came to understand
that the only way God could be understood was through the humanity of Jesus. His
whole life was a perfect human reflection of who God is and how God continues to
act in human history. Jesus was and is the ultimate disclosure of God, God who
more abstract philosophical and theological reflections on the Trinity provide that kind of frustration which the Eastern mystics
describe as a cross for the human mind.
In the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, Christians have a level and
medium of comprehensibility, tangibility and access to God that mere ideas
at the very heart of his being, disclosed the personalities of God.
In his ministry of healing and single-minded devotion he showed the human face of the Creator, God ever with and sustaining creation. He gave the distant Creator a close personal name, a human name, Abba.
In his life and teaching he modelled his own filial or Sonship relationship with his Abba, The Father and I are one. But it was not a cosy, privatized relationship. He included his friends in the family life of God, ‘And when you pray, say, our Father….’ Jesus provided his followers with access to the extravagantly generous hospitality and compassion of God especially at the table of God, he blessed God, broke the bread and gave it to them…..And there were twelve baskets full left over.
Jesus there was always more than enough for all. No wonder he gave his followers
became the human face of the Spirit, God the Preserver,
Comforter…. and he was moved deeply in spirit….and acted on behalf of Lazarus
his friend; to friends no longer servants he says, I have yet many
things to say to you, but you cannot
bear them now. When the spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the
truth; for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will
speak and will declare to you the things that are to come.
recognise in Jesus and his complete existence, the original divine community and
communion of life, light and grace. Jesus Christ is the human disclosure of the
triune God, three persons, total selflessness, for one another and for
creation. God is love.
Western theology links the Incarnation strongly with the restoration of the
God-human relationship broken by the sin of Adam, Eastern Christians from
ancient times harboured an alternative view. They believed that God, who is by
nature relational and who delights in delighting, would have entered human
history and become Incarnate anyway. Creation after all is an icon of God, and
human beings are made in the divine image
and likeness. We are family and
members of God’s Community of love.
we are at our best when we are Trinity
Timbs writes from Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.
Trinity Sunday, 2012
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