Thursday, January 27, 2011

United We Stand

By D. Adams
September 27, 2006

Ever notice how we, as Christians, are often posited as being divided? Its interesting how this can stem from the same people that are rightly divided today in America. I am talking about the Democrats and the Republicans. I usually do not mix politics with religion simply because it is unethical in my opinion. I am merely referring to this axiom to justify a clear analogy of unity and diversity. Are Americans truly indigenous of this pendulum cognition? Whether you are a Democrat, Independent or Republican, are you still not an American? This false dichotomy (excluded middle) paints a picture that if a Christian raises an issue, such as the communion (Eucharist), we cannot be true Christians. I hope you are beginning to see the discontinuity of this mindset.

Unity and Diversity
Some say the two cannot co-exist. I suppose a more in-depth study of this can be traced throughout history in our own culture. But let us focus our agenda on today’s culture. Today some Americans choose to vote, to voice their opinion publicly, others quetch in the privacy of their own home or amongst peer groups. Some debate issues openly, others just condemn because they are not like-minded. Likewise, this modus operandi spills over into the realm of Christianity. Let’s face it no matter what we find to be true in our own mind, someone else will have a counter-argument against our way of thinking. We could also go on to mention the unity and diversity amongst the sexes, but suffice it to say man needs companionship and man also has gotta eat.

What is Unity?
John 17:22 The glory   you gave to me I have given to them, that they may be one just as we are one – 17:23 I in them and you in me – that they may be completely one,  so that the world will know that you sent me, and you have loved them just as you have loved me.

The Christian can have three functions of unity (1) Ontological Unity (2) Creedal Unity (3) Functional Unity. Before we discuss each branch of unity, let’s recognize that even Americans are divided on the interpretation of the Constitution and the Bill of rights. We have the Democratic view, the Republican view, and the Independent view. This division was the springboard for such groups as the ACLU to help keep the checks and balances. Although I cannot agree fully with the direction of the ACLU, I understand why they are in place. The same token applies to Christianity, the Reformers helped to restore a balance and a restoration to Christianity. It is noted that some Christians may disagree with that statement; however, it does not make it a false analogy in and of itself per se.

Should we oppress the Christian into a certain mold—defined by mans standards? Some Roman Catholics say that the reformation created division amongst the ranks, however it should be duly noted that the Catholic/Orthodox schism that took place in 1054AD speaks a much different story about division. Besides the division over the Eucharist, there was the division among the Filioque Clause Controversy, just to name two. Our goal, as Christians, is to find the unifying importance as to our beliefs as a whole, not the misconstrual of a handful of verses.

Ontological Unity
Despite many varying claims, the Christian will believe in God and hold a firm belief in the Deity of Christ. These are essential to the faith. The Bible assumes beforehand that man is smart enough to have a belief in God. Christ’s deity is clearly laid out throughout the NT writings. A future article on Christ’s deity will cover most of the verses used to prove this. Unless we believe that Jesus is the “ego eimi,” we would deny him. By this implication, we also deny the father, and if we deny the father, then we cannot be in his presence here or in the after.

Creedal Unity
For the most part Christians agree upon the first seven ecumenical councils. Granted there are some debates within these creedal summary statements, but we uphold to the belief in the creeds as a whole. The same can be said as in the belief in the Constitution, but no one honestly accuses another for not being an American when a disagreement arises. Yet Christians and Non-Christians perform the unacceptable equivocation error when it comes to beliefs defining the Christian, and an American. Consistency is crucial to finding truth. It’s not a fair assessment for the Non-Christian to accuse us of the very same thing they themselves are doing in political, and moral issues.

Functional Unity
This is the common goal of Christians that we share—the functional unity. These common goals include moral issues, aiding the poor and needy, fight against aids, cancer, bone marrow diseases, etc. Christians do not make the sole claim to this functional unity—however it is one thing that binds us together. It can be stated, that not all Christians share in this view of functional unity, however the Bible demands it.
(NET Bible)
Matt 25:31 “When the Son of Man comes in his glory and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne. 25:32 All the nations will be assembled before him, and he will separate people one from another like a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 25:33 He   will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left. 25:34 Then the king will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. 25:35 For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 25:36 I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me.’ 25:37 Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 25:38 When   did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or naked and clothe you? 25:39 When did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ 25:40 And the king will answer them, ‘I tell you the truth, just as you did it for one of the least of these brothers or sisters of mine, you did it for me.’

25:41 “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you accursed, into the eternal fire that has been prepared for the devil and his angels! 25:42 For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink. 25:43 I was a stranger and you did not receive me as a guest, naked and you did not clothe me, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.’ 25:44 Then they too will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not give you whatever you needed?’ 25:45 Then he will answer them, ‘I tell you the truth, just as you did not do it for one of the least of these, you did not do it for me.’ 25:46 And these will depart into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”

I think many Christians have ignored this unique passage. This by definition alone does not guarantee salvation by these mere workings. A Non-Christian can perform humanitarian aid, yet still be considered good by our cultural standards. However, for the Christian, works without faith (Notitia, Assensus, and Fiducia) is not enough. [1]

I conclude that, if Americans (by definition) can have this division, yet still remain in unity and be called Americans—then Christians (by definition) can also employ this very principle. The unification effort between the Eastern Orthodox, Evangelicals, Protestants, Fundamentalists, and Roman Catholic believers is nothing new. Many valiant attempts have been made to bring these groups together in aggregated unity. I believe we can all co-exist but too many times extreme fundamentalism plays a significant role in undermining this process. Pope Benedict XVI seems to be making some efforts towards unification—however I seriously doubt if one man can control the thinking of many. Despite the Papal infallibility claimed in the Vatican Council, we all submit to one authority and that is Jesus Christ.

My harangue
Sadly, some have truly lost the true status quo that was profoundly displayed in the Gospels, and rely on mans feeble attempt to assemble religious precepts. This philosophy is not new by any means, for even the Jewish sect was guilty of this during the Intertestamental Period (e.g. Midrash). When do we set aside these differences and work towards a common goal? As for myself, I remain tactful, seeking understanding of my faith that rests in Christ’s redemptive work on the Cross. I hold the scriptures as the final authority on issues of spiritual discontinuity, salvation, and I assent to the knowledge of the scriptures.

The historical-grammatical method is of utmost concern when it comes to the true knowledge of the author’s true intent. One can reach the truth through diligent study, balanced with prayer and the work of the Holy Spirit. I hope many Christians can agree with my premise that would unite us in our faith. I do not readily expect to have unity on every issue, but I do see that we have more in common than we do in opposition when it comes to our views on Christianity and America. Once we recognize the fact that we are mere humans with the component of fallibility, we will see things on a more common ground.

May peace be with you…

1. (Notitia, Assensus, and Fiducia) these three are Knowledge, Assent, and Trust. When combined they define the doctrine of Faith Alone as by the early Reformers. The Basic principle is that the Bible is the knowledge, we assent to this knowledge, and we trust in this knowledge. We rest in Christ. In other words, despite the claims of skeptics, Christianity is not based upon blind-faith. Defining Christianity as blind-faith is a false dichotomy. The scriptures are self-attesting. God challenges other Pagan gods in the OT. He asks us to test all things; hold fast to what is good. God gives us the ability to reason—he gives us the ability to seek truth. God also give us the ability to choose our destiny.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Change vs. Conformity

Change versus Conformity

by D. Adams

January 17, 2011/07

“You are so young, my son, and, as the years go by, time will change and even reverse many of your present opinions. Refrain therefore awhile from setting yourself up as judge of the highest matters.” — Plato

The nature of this article will cover the topics and definitions of change and conformity. What is change is it merely conforming to another’s ideals concerning proper behaviors? Or can change only be brought on after a life-changing event where one is forced to re-evaluate their worldview, connecting to reality?

The Spark

What really prompted this article was a discussion I had recently with my wife during a lunch outing. We were discussing a broad-brushing statement that we could not really comprehend as logical or as a stand-alone ideology. The statement went like this: “People do not change, they merely conform.” This vague and negative connotation has no real meaning in and of itself. The statement is an oversimplification of two terms put into a generalized statement. It does not qualify as a universal axiom, nor should anyone readily accept this maxim without further qualifications. It is imperative to think critically, but not be over-critical but define our terms, and then make our statements.

What is change

“To improve is to change. To be perfect is to change often.” — Winston Churchill

Change is defined as (noun):
  1. An event that occurs when something passes from one state or phase to another
  2. A relational difference between states; especially between states before and after some event
  3. The result of alteration or modification

Change is defined as (verb):

  1. Undergo a change; become different in essence; losing one's or its original nature
  2. Cause to change; make different; cause a transformation
  3. Make or become different in some particular way, without permanently losing one's or its former characteristics or essence

The definition of the term change will depend on how the term is used in a sentence. Some may loosely assert (overgeneralize) that a change is always bad, and others that a change is always good. Without specifying the term, the term can be quite vague. Change itself can be either good or bad—change for the better, or change for the worse. This is where the term change can be relative but the term itself does not necessarily warrant a relative view.

It would be impractical to state that change only arises through a life-changing experience, or by mere conformity. Take for example someone that openly decides to break out of a normalcy of his or her situation. Let’s say a person decides to change their eating habits, is this always brought about by a near-death experience? Resoundingly, we cannot always assume that one changes their eating habits because they are given an ultimatum (life over death). Surely, one can recognize the advantages of eating healthy and the health risks involved through improper nutrition.

The decision to change eating habits may not be to conform to the statistics or merely the science behind these precepts, but to no longer conform to his or her desires to eat in a non-healthy manner. Maybe this person has the desire to be a role model for their children, and decide to make changes that will affect them positively as well.

Some of the pros:
  • Without change, in essence, there can be no measure of progress or regress
  • Change allows for progress
  • To shift from despair or error, takes change
  • Without change, a worker will not earn more money (through a pay increase)
  • Change can take you out of a slump
  • Change affects others (lifting of others in a positive sense)
  • Change can allow for visions to become reality (finances, new career, abundant lifestyle, achieving goals)
  • Change can break one free from conformity (defined later)

Now the Cons:
  • Change can make matters worse (a negative change for the worse)
  • Change involves a new way of thinking (when viewed in a negative sense)
  • Change may affect you (in a negative sense push you out of your comfort zone)
  • Change may implore more responsibility onto you (from others)
  • Change may invoke social drag from friends, family, etc (interconnected people may want to drag you back to the old you)
  • Change may involve opposition, or uncertainty of future events
  • Change may involve risk taking

There are many other examples to be added to both pro and con lists, but often change takes place simply because one is tiresome of their present conditions or they simply want to break free of conforming to a status quo or a mindset instilled by ones self, peers, or family members. If you are not presently jubilant or joyful in your situation, change will move you from that situation.
But what hampers or blocks one to change?

Environmental Blocks

In our society today, certain pressures can stem from media, parents, religion, advertisements, peers, etc. You have heard of the saying “keeping up with the Jones’s” right. With a score of credit card companies, offering cash back rewards or introductory reduced interest rates, it is difficult not to conform to their programming. Often we fall prey to keeping up with a status quo that keeps us in debt up to our eyeballs just to make it seem as if we are truly in competition to achieve more material items. The sad reality is that once we are gone, we cannot take it with us.

Sometimes the media tends to make us conform to a mantra of gloom and doom, that there may not be any hope. These individuals may see the worst side being portrayed as the dominate reality on news broadcasts. With the infestation of tabloids, blogs, and opinions being rampant on the internet, it can be difficult to distinguish fact from fiction. Often fiction is held in a higher regard than fact within the internet realm. Some of these fictitious accounts are debunked or recanted, and other times they are simply left to simmer, hoisted by those of less intellect.

One of the biggest topics today has to be the Global Warming theory. The global warming theorist urges people to conform to this theory and sell their SUV’s, switch to solar power, or buy ethanol. Maybe a celebrity is whom we measure our lives. Maybe it’s the conforming to commercial advertisements of expensive clothing that we purchase that makes us feel part of a group. The goal of this article is not to discuss such matters, but to make awareness that change can be good and conformity can be bad in some cases. In the case of global warming, remember a theory can never be proven as truth. A theory can have quasi-facts but once a theory is fully-proven, it becomes fact, law, and often accepted as common knowledge.

People blocks

Certainly, others can block or hinder our progress. It seems as if family members or peers can have a negative effect on our thinking process. These terms can be defined such as:

·         You can not perform that work
·         You are not disciplined enough to accomplish that
·         You are not smart enough to do that
·         You need to have a degree for that

When repeated enough, one starts to behave as if these are absolutes. Maybe you have heard the old saying “I think therefore I am.” The sad fact is that oftentimes the person invoking these words also lives by these words. They tend to project their thinking upon us as if an authoritative. Ask yourself this question, is this person merely telling us that they cannot perform these tasks themselves. Is this veritably, what we want to have instilled upon us. Take a good look at this person, are they in a position to pass judgment onto anyone else. Needless to say that; “Those in glass houses should not throw stones.”

Concerning the people blocks listed, we have two choices, 1) we conform to this montage, or 2) we invoke change, and no longer conform to this state of affairs. It is true that we could evoke a third option of merely ignoring the people blocks. However, this does nothing to change the situation and only makes the naysayer looks as they are an utterer of truth. Option three indeed would classify people that do not change but only conform. [1]

It is also true that we are competitive in nature and judgmental which can easily lead us to evaluating others and their ideas. We do this even when we consciously know the caustic effect it will have on them. Remember that often people will despise change so much, that they will distance themselves from you. They know that if you change, they too will also ingest change. Maybe the change is only in how they view you, or sometimes the change will necessitate them delving out of their comfort zone. Sometimes change is good when it comes to a negative Nancy.

Internal blocks

The final and most insidious sources of creative blocks are we ourselves. The internal voice that warns us of the dangers of unconventional thoughts can hinder us from moving forward. As we discussed earlier, people blocks could have instilled this subconsciously into our own rationale. Sometimes our worst enemy is our self. Uncertainty can be a huge factor on whether someone chooses to change or merely conform (status quo). There are conditions that heighten or thrive on such thinking.

According to Anxiety Disorders Resource Center One and a half percent of the population (or 4,045,627 people), are afflicted with panic attacks. I too have suffered from severe panic attacks, some that have landed me into an emergency room. I have also suffered in the past from agoraphobia. Concisely anxiety attacks often stem out of a fear of a fear. This may not make sense to the outsider, but those who suffer from this disorder, it is very real. Certainly negative thinking will intensify panic attacks, the only way to change is to conform to the doctors and take medication or change your thinking. I was on medication for awhile but then I chose the latter; it has saved me lots of time, money, and aggravation.

Uncertainty of certain outcomes often deters someone from change. There is the overwhelming tendency to become comfortable (without change) within a particular lifestyle. If the lifestyle is truly comfortable and joyful then the mindset is not to change. What one views as ideal, someone else may not view as ideal. Once we intermingle with others, often times we want what others have. Sometimes one must put forward a method of change to reach a new level, but sometimes change is not easy. Frequently the comfort zone you think you are in is not a comfort zone, but you have merely rejected a change and have conformed to a status quo.

Common excuses against change:
·         It would be too much work (AKA “lazybones”)
·         I don’t have the time to dedicate (AKA “poor time manager”)
·         I can’t (sometimes this term is not defined)
·         What if I fail (as if you would be the first person to ever fail at anything)
·         I do not feel good today (Do you really have an illness)

This short list is some of the most common redactions against change. So what if you fail, would it be that detrimental that you would never try it again. Imagine a world where we were perfect, in a sense, and failure never occurred. Do you think we would be more successful or less successful in life? The reality is we do not live in a perfect world and we often learn from mistakes or failures. For some, this is the only way to learn simply because they do not heed advice from others with experience (conform).

Is it really too much work to change or is it due to a lack of self confidence. Simply stating “I can’t” is equivalent to “I won’t” (not even try). Surely if you are truly handicapped mentally or in some cases physically (paraplegic, or similar) handicapped then the I can’t chant is validated. Let’s face it some of us just like to take the easy way out and merely justify our reasoning without a logical or valid reason.

What is Conformity

  1. Be similar, be in line with
  2. Adapt or conform oneself to new or different conditions

Conformity itself can be a good thing, take for example conforming to laws set in place against murder. If the majority of people chose not to conform to these laws, then murder could be more rampant than it is today. Some will not conform to the laws but will conform to their selfish desires and the outcome can be disastrous.

  • to standards makes for consistency
  • to laws makes for a more peaceable lifestyle

  • can be stagnant in a negative sense (creative blocks, no room for growth)
  • can lead to troublesome situations (financial, emotional, spiritual)
  • can lead to isolation (cultist behaviors)

Occasionally conformity may infer that a colleague may have revised his or her own attitude, and you alter yours to be more in line with them. Nevertheless, this conformity does not take place without a change being involved. Certainly one should consider this revision after careful scrutiny, not merely to conform to fit in or to appease others. Oftentimes, a child can merely hold a belief or faith based upon this being handed down to them. When this child grows into adulthood, they may or may not keep with these beliefs. We hear of such events regarding religion, occupation, child-rearing, lifestyle, and so on. These beliefs can be based upon reason, logic, reasonable doubt, or they can be held on false premises or by vicarious dissonance.

Vicarious Dissonance

Vicarious Dissonance is an attitude change brought about by the inconsistency of others. Vast research has been performed in this area. This hypothesis suggests that people who share a common rank, and who feel strongly identified with their peers, tend to take on the characteristics, emotions, and motivations of the group's prototypical member.

For example, if someone acts in such a way that produces dissension in him or her, it will also produce dissension in others. During the process one may not act in an attitude discrepant fashion, however they can experience pressure to change their own attitudes. It seems as if a rule of cause-and-effect is being informally represented here.

This vicarious dissonance can also be demonstrated by a discomfort. The discomfort can be felt by imagining feeling compassion towards someone. The old adage of “walking in another’s shoes” can revise attitudes. For example, a person with skin cancer can be more convincing that sun block can be helpful in preventing such causes. This is not to say that sun blocks will necessarily prevent skin cancer, but it can help prevent such cases. Would this claim seem more convincing coming from an actor, or maybe someone with skin cancer (past or present) that you could empathize.

Most of our thinking processes are brought into a stalemate when such statements are carried out. We can either go on with our lives, or see the need for awareness of a reality that exists whether we want to believe it or not. This is being objective.

People do not change, they merely conform

In essence, this statement can never be truly held as a universal axiom. Unless we are truly all-knowing, we can never know all people or the reasons why they change or conform. Change can come from conformity but people do not merely conform in order to change. It should be noted that it would be hard to conform unless a change is involved. If one is already committed to conform, it most likely will not involve a change. If one is merely going along to conform, then truly they are not really conforming. We can find this sometimes within Christianity and other religions or beliefs. We can claim to be Christians, but if we are not showing the fruit, then are we really Christians at all.

It has been proven that people can change through life experiences, religion, and near death experiences just to name a few. Some assume that there is conformity to these precepts, but actually, in reality no one is truly dragging them. Remember that a man convinced against his will is of the same opinion still. There may be some conformity involved with change but conformity is typically not the exclusive reasoning process behind change.[2]

[1] This is the main subject of the article. People do not change, they only conform. In this case, it would be a true statement.
[2] See footnote #1 in regards to: People do not change, they merely conform.


Three easy steps to understanding the Trinity
By Ham

One of the most difficult issues in Orthodox Christianity is the concept and understanding of the Trinity. The concept seems too daunting, that many simply want to dismiss the concept completely. However, when we dismiss this concept, we have to ignore many scriptures that point towards or articulate what seems to be saying God in unity as three. This article is for the Christian struggling with the concept of the trinity, not so much to fully articulate the trinity through scripture.

Before we get started, let’s cover a few ground rules. We have to understand that because of our fallen sinful nature, we cannot be in the presence of God. We need a savior, messiah, suffering servant that will redeem us from this sin. In other words since man has broken the Adamic covenant by eating the forbidden fruit from the tree in the Garden of Eden we can see good and evil. (see Genesis chapter 3) Man now experiences death, knows evil, is separated from God now because of this act.

We know that there is a God and he is one. This is expressed in Deuteronomy 6:4 Listen, Israel: The Lord is our God, the Lord is one! We know that God stresses this point of him being one because of the surrounding cultures worshipping many gods. In Deuteronomy 11:16 Make sure you do not turn away to serve and worship other gods! [NET Bible] This brings us to step #1

Step #1
Since we know God is one and there are no other gods, lets create a visualization in terms that we as humans can grasp. Bear with me, in this process. Of course we know that God is not limited to our understanding of him—but we will need some visualization to get past the barriers our human mind and intellect. We will be using a line to represent God and we will label this line as “G” for God. (As shown below)

Now we know that God never changes because he is immutable. Malachi 3:6 "For I, the LORD, do not change; therefore you, O sons of Jacob, are not consumed. [NASB] This is of course about God’s word and promises and we only need to refer back to Deuteronomy 6:4 to know that God is one and he never changes his character or traits. The line represents God (for our purposes here) as always being this line and cannot change his shape.

Step #2
Now we know that the Israelites fell into idolatry numerous times throughout the OT. The Mosaic covenant (Law) was a bilateral agreement. In Jeremiah 31:29-34 we find that there is a new covenant on the way.
The Lord Will Make a New Covenant with Israel and Judah

Jeremiah 31:29 “When that time comes, people will no longer say, ‘The parents have eaten sour grapes, but the children’s teeth have grown numb.’ 31:30 Rather, each person will die for his own sins. The teeth of the person who eats the sour grapes will themselves grow numb.
31:31 “Indeed, a time is coming,” says the Lord, “when I will make a new covenant with the people of Israel and Judah. 31:32 It will not be like the old covenant that I made with their ancestors when I delivered them from Egypt. For they violated that covenant, even though I was like a faithful husband to them,” says the Lord. 31:33 “But I will make a new covenant with the whole nation of Israel after I plant them back in the land,” says the Lord. “I will put my law within them and write it on their hearts and minds. I will be their God and they will be my people. 31:34 “People will no longer need to teach their neighbors and relatives to know me. For all of them, from the least important to the most important, will know me,” says the Lord. “For I will forgive their sin and will no longer call to mind the wrong they have done.”
We know that the Law (Mosaic) is weak because it is dependant on flesh. The Abramic Covenant (Land) was sealed with blood by the circumcision in that it cannot be broken because if was a unilateral covenant. We know that the new covenant (Jer. 31) must be in blood for it to be from God and not dependant on mans efforts. Isaiah 53 talks about a suffering servant to come and redeem the people of Israel. As Christians, we know these points to Christ. The hypostatic union is what we see in John 10:30 The Father and I are one.” (cf 10:38) John14:6 Jesus replied, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

In John 1 :1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was fully God. 1:2 The Word was with God in the beginning. 1:3 All things were created by him, and apart from him not one thing was created that has been created. 1:4 In him was life, and the life was the light of mankind.

Col 2:9 For in him all the fullness of deity lives in bodily form, 2:10 and you have been filled in him, who is the head over every ruler and authority.

We know that the word was fully God, and was with God always. This word becomes flesh in John 1:14Now the Word became flesh and took up residence among us. We saw his glory – the glory of the one and only, full of grace and truth, who came from the Father”. The NWT suggests that the word was a god, but that introduces polytheism into the Bible and paints John as a polytheist. Nowhere in any Greek Manuscript is the word referred to as a god. Nor is Jesus ever clearly called an angel let alone Michael in the scripture. (Despite any church fathers heretical belief). [1]

Can an Angel be the Son of God?

Hebrews 1:5 For to which of the angels did God ever say, “You are my son! Today I have fathered you”? And in another place he says, “I will be his father and he will be my son.” 1:6 But when he again brings his firstborn into the world, he says, “Let all the angels of God worship him!1:7 And he says of the angels, “He makes his angels spirits and his ministers a flame of fire,” 1:8 but of the Son he says,” Your throne, O God, is forever and ever, and a righteous scepter is the scepter of your kingdom.
Hebrews1:13 But to which of the angels has he ever said, “Sit at my right hand until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet”? 1:14 Are they not all ministering spirits, sent out to serve those who will inherit salvation? [NET Bible Bold denotes quotations or allusions]

John 8:58–59a
“Jesus said to them, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was born, I am.’ Therefore they picked up stones to throw at Him.” (cf. Exodus 3:14 as by the reaction of the Jews that were going to stone him). Jesus is the ego eimi.

We know that John the Baptist was to be the sign of Elijah that has to come before the suffering Messiah. Micah 4:5 Look, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the great and terrible day of the Lord arrives. 4:6 He will encourage fathers and their children to return to me, so that I will not come and strike the earth with judgment.”

John 1:6 A man came, sent from God, whose name was John. 1:7 He came as a witness to testify about the light, so that everyone might believe through him.

Matt 17:12 And I tell you that Elijah has already come. Yet they did not recognize him, but did to him whatever they wanted. In the same way, the Son of Man will suffer at their hands.” 17:13 Then the disciples understood that he was speaking to them about John the Baptist.

Now we are ready for line 2 which is marked “J” for Jesus.

Since Jesus states he and the Father are one they are now together as one line. (Subsistence= the state of existing in reality; having same substance)

Let’s stop here and understand the concept. Note most importantly that these features; the lines are identical in length, shape, and form. When connected they are one continuous line. We know that we cannot add to God’s nature, he is one not three. But this concept is for the visualization purposes of The Father and the Son being one of the same essences. We know the two are separate for each one is separate, but they share the same essences is our point here. This visualization will become much easier when we get to the conclusion. Remember Jesus sits at the right hand of the throne.

Step #3

The Holy Spirit, the comforter, advocate is sent in John 15:26 When the Advocate comes, whom I will send you from the Father – the Spirit of truth who goes out from the Father – he will testify about me. John 16:7 But I tell you the truth, it is to your advantage that I am going away. For if I do not go away, the Advocate will not come to you, but if I go, I will send him to you. [Emphasis mine] It seems as if the Holy spirit is a who, he, and him.
Ezekiel 11:19 I will give them one heart and I will put a new spirit within them; I will remove the hearts of stone from their bodies and I will give them tender hearts, 11:20 so that they may follow my statutes and observe my regulations and carry them out. Then they will be my people, and I will be their God. (cf 36:27)

Is the Spirit eternal?
Jn. 14:16 “I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever.” [emphasis mine]

2 Cor. 3:17–18 “Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit.”

Acts 5:3–4
“But Peter said, ‘Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and to keep back some of the price of the land? While it remained unsold, did it not remain your own? And after it was sold, was it not under your control? Why is it that you have conceived this deed in your heart? You have not lied to men but to God.’” [Emphasis mine]

The Holy Spirit is a Person:
Ø   The Spirit has His own intelligence (1 Cor. 2:10–13).
Ø   The Spirit manifests emotions (Eph. 4:30).
Ø   The Spirit demonstrates His own will (Acts 8:29, 9:31; 13:2; 15:28; 16:6;1 Cor. 12:11).
Ø   Blasphemy of the Holy Spirit is worse than blasphemy of Christ or the Father (Matt. 12:32).
Ø   The Spirit humbles Himself by willingly diverting attention away from Himself to Christ (John 15:26; 16:13–14).

Just as Christ humbled Himself in becoming a servant of man (Phil. 2:5–8), the Holy Spirit humbles Himself in that He is the . . .
1. Least known
2. Least worshiped
3. Least individualized of the Godhead [The Theology Program Trinitarianism Notebook]

Now that the Holy Spirit is eternal, and shares the same essence as God the Father, and God the son, the Holy Spirit is also distinct from the two. This brings us to line #3.

Now knowing that the Holy Spirit comes from God and shares the same essences as the Father and Son we will unite all three. They all share the same essence, eternality and cannot be separated from the union. (1 times 1 times 1 equals 1) We must be careful here for we are not saying there can be more than three, but the three are one. This is not the concept of polytheism. The concept of polytheism means separate gods but not equally sharing the same essence or powers over all things—they were limited as the sun god, god of thunder etc. Now we have the three united as shown below. This is the mystery revealed. The Trinity is the coequal, coeternal nature shared in three separate distinguishable persons, these three being one in unity.

Some issues with the views of Trinity
Notice the three are one line. However, if we were to take these three to form an equilateral triangle we can run into some problems. If we form these lines into a triangle, we may want to divide the essences. By this I mean 60 degrees shared or divisible make 360 degrees, therefore they are the same angle but divisible. God is not divisible in his simplicity. Many folks tend to see the equilateral triangle as a summation of 3-60 degree angles; however, this is what we call tritheism. Tritheism is a heretical view of the Trinity. Even though the triangle has three sides it is still one triangle not three triangles as a sum for our definition.

In other words the Father is not 60degrees, the Son is not 60 degrees, and the Holy Sprit is not 60 degrees, nor do they all three add up to 180 degrees by division. They are more like the straight line concept as shown earlier. The early Church had a symbol that represented the Trinity that looked like a triangle. However, they made a circle surrounding the triangle (shield) to keep from viewing the three 60 degree angles as a summation by division.

                                                       Diagram courtesy of wikipedia

Notice that the Triangle in the center showing the Father is God, The Son is God, and the Spirit is God. On the outer area is the circle that shows that The Father is not the Son, The Son is not the Father, and The Holy Spirit is not the Son or the Father, and so on. All three being--separate and equal but not the same personhood.
Modalism taught that God was manifested into three entities and was only one at a particular time. Note here the word manifested. Many people use this terminology to articulate the Trinity. The confusion is the definition implied with this word.
“Reveal its presence or make an appearance”
This could mean we have one line but each manifestation is not present at the same time. This divides the three from one and then it becomes “Oneness” theology. The one manifests itself into another essence (takes on the form) of one position so to speak. Here is the visualization.

The problem with taking this God is one too far we also distort the full scriptures pertaining to God for we know that one (ehad) can be a unity.
Ø  Gen 2.24--the man and his wife will be one (ehad) flesh--clearly a composite unity.
Ø  Ex 26:6, 11--the fifty gold clasps are used to hold the curtains together so that the tent would be a unit (ehad).
Ø  2 Samuel 2:25--many soldiers made themselves into 'one group' (ehad)
Ø  Gen 34:16 --the men of Shechem suggest intermarriage with Jacob's children in order to become 'one(ehad) people'. 
Ø  Joshua 9.2 -- the western kings agree to fight Joshua as "one (ehad)  force"
Ø  Josh 10.42-- "And Joshua captured all these kings and their lands at one (ehad) time" (NAS) or "All these kings and their lands Joshua conquered in one (ehad) campaign" (NIV)
Ø  Ex 24.3 --"Then Moses came and recounted to the people all the words of the Lord and all the ordinances; and all the people answered with one (ehad) voice, and said"

We must notice that the one in unity does not violate monotheism. If we go with tritheism it makes three divisible gods (60 degrees times 3). God is still one (one line as we have shown). Now these three have always existed before creation. However, Jesus is the word that became flesh. He humbled himself as shown in Philipians 2:5 You should have the same attitude toward one another that Christ Jesus had, 2:6 who though he existed in the form of God did not regard equality with God as something to be grasped, 2:7 but emptied himself by taking on the form of a slave, by looking like other men, and by sharing in human nature. 2:8 He humbled himself, by becoming obedient to the point of death – even death on a cross!

A poor visualization of Trinity (notice the difference essences no like essences of the egg=modalism)

Courtesy of The Theology Program Trinitarianism notebook

Notice the same problems with using H2O (each is a different essence=modalism).

Jesus fully man and God?

Now some state this verse (Phil 2:5-7) as the Kenosis theory where Jesus gave up (emptied) some his powers. However if we take this verse in context, the emptying is because he took on the form of a slave (servant). The problem is that then Jesus cannot be viewed as fully God and fully man when we accept the Kenosis theory. When Jesus (The word) had become flesh, he was now bound by time and its effects. Jesus readily submits to the Father knowing that he had become flesh. When Jesus became flesh on earth, he became apt to temptation, hunger, tiredness, and submissive to the Father in Heaven. This is the ontological conception of Christ through his incarnation and his submissiveness to the Father. Of course, after the bodily resurrection of Christ, his body is now eternal, just as our resurrected bodies will be no longer bound by death or the bondage to decay. This paints a picture of what we can expect of our bodies.
Do we need to accept Jesus as the ego eimi?

Now if we eliminate Jesus as being the messiah and dismiss his claims as being the “I AM” (fully God) then we are left with this picture.

Notice as Jesus says this:
John 6:44 No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day. [Emphasis mine]
Matt 10:40 “Whoever receives you receives me, and whoever receives me receives the one who sent me. [Emphasis mine]
Notice that when we eliminate Jesus as the ego eimi then we cannot have a relationship with God the Father, nor will we be able to be raised up at the last day. The most important issue is accepting Jesus—the word becoming flesh—God becoming flesh. Without the Holy Spirit being involved in our walk, we cannot receive the comforter that helps us. If one does not fully understand the Trinity concept—that is fine, but if you cannot fully articulate it in human terminology then at least accept it by faith and ascent to the knowledge of the scriptures that allow us to view the triune nature and trust in those scriptures to be true.

[1] Remember that God does not share his power or authority with a mere god or angels as the JW wish us to think. If God shares these powers or authority he becomes divided when it is shared with one not of equal essence. Understand these words. Matt 3:24 “If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom will not be able to stand.” 3:25” If a house is divided against itself, that house will not be able to stand.” Matt 3:28 echoes this quite nicely when in juxtaposition with Jesus and God and Holy Spirit when view as a Trinity.