Introduction: Three – Holy Spirit in the middle – The Dove


In the previous post we have looked at the painting the Mystic Lamb by the brothers Van Eyck in Ghent. This painting shows the Lamb of God as an offering to take away the sin of the world. Jesus Christ, the only son of God the Father, is represented as Lamb of God [1]. Above the Lamb of God, a dove is depicted as bright shining sun who illuminates the world. This dove symbolizes the Holy Spirit.

The choir sings during the Mass in B – minor by Johann Sebastian Bach how Jesus Christ was born through the Holy Spirit out of Mary:

”Et incarnatus est de Spiritu Sancto ex Maria virgine et homo factus est”

Later in our Odyssey, you and I will dwell on “et incarnatus est”. During this post we consider the dove – the Holy Spirit – through whom Jesus as Son of God the Father is born out of Mary. For this we look one more time at the painting the Mystic Lamb by the brothers Van Eyck in Ghent.

[2]

According to Christian theology God the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit are a Trinity [3]. In the painting, this trinity is depicted as a father – in the upper middle sitting on a throne as King-God – with thereunder a separate painting of the Holy Spirit as a shining sun that illuminates the world. Through the Holy Spirit the Lamb of God emerges as the only child of the Father. In this painting the Holy Spirit is painted as a dove.

[4]

How does this divine trinity relates to the invisible Jewish God who is considered present between the tops of the wings of angels on the Ark of the Covenant? [5]  Do we see different physical appearances of the same God – who cannot be encompassed – but who takes different manifestations for the faithful?

Is the invisible God who is considered present between the tops of the wings of the dove similar to the Jewish God who is considered present between the tops of the wings of angels on the Ark of the Covenant?

The son of God takes away the sin of the world as a sacrifice in the form of the Lamb of God. Is this a continuation of the sacrifices within the cattle cycle that have been made long ago in order to establish and consolidate the trust between Gods and mankind? [6]

Christian faith is spread through the Roman Empire. Within the world of the Romans, the father in the family has absolute power over his children. [7] The birth of a Roman only takes places when the father decides whether and how the newborn child is included in society. Until a child is fully mature and starts living on her/his own, the father has absolute power over his children [8]. In Western Europe the Catholic Church is a continuation of the Roman empire until now. Before 300 A. C. Jupiter is [9] the important Father God. The vestments in the church still show resemblance to the fashion of the Late Western Roman Empire [8] and the church provinces still follow the provinces of the former Roman Empire until now. Does “God the Father” show similarities with the father in the Roman Empire in respect to the powerful position over his children?

“It seems that within the Christian theology the mystery of the divine Trinity is needed to reunite various forms of mysteries from the past. Through this unification of the Trinity and through rituals (with the usual offerings), the mutual trust between mankind and God is maintained according to the Christian faith. Through this mutual trust and faith, a view of a resurrection is created for the believers”, you say.

“Your explanation sounds good, I leave a further investigation of this subject to church historians [11]. The divine trinity, the world and the universe also fit perfectly within another metaphor for the mystery of life. The three manifestations of God, including the world and the universe fit perfectly within Indra’s net. Within this metaphor all aspect (including the three manifestations of God) are glass beads, that are more or less radiate and reflective. By their mutual radiation and reflection they constitute each other and together they shape the net. Within this metaphor a church is a community – with or without a building – that constitutes one another by mutual reflection arisen from beliefs, so that the life course is followed, “I say.

“If we follow this way of thinking, the holy spirit may be the fleeting life course, light, wind, water, air, dust from which we are born and where we will return to. It also makes me think of the opening of the Ishvara upanishad which goes something like this: “That is the whole, this is the whole, from the whole, the whole becomes manifest; taking away the whole from the whole, the whole remains. Peace! Peace! Peace![10]“, you say.

“There remain two questions. According to the metaphor of Indra’s Net, no single particle can get lost. And the second question arises because I’ve read somewhere that the gods are bound by the law of cause and effect. Maybe more on this later on our Odyssey”, I say.

The following post is a transition to the next stage “Five” and is about the “Word “.


[1] See footnote at the post “Introduction: Three – Object in the middle – Lamb Gods” of 3rd June 2011.

[2] Source image: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lamb_of_God

[3] The first start of the Christian doctrine of the Trinity is given during the first Oecumenical Council of Nicaea in 325 by the church leaders of the great Christian centres in Rome, Alexandria, Antioch and Jerusalem. This Council rejects the Arianism – in which the verb-root “arh” may be recognized meaning “be worthy or capable” in Sanskrit – and explains this view as heresy. Arius, the eponym of this Christian flow and priest in Alexandria, has proclaimed that Christ – although a superior man – has no divine nature but is created by God and therefore as “son of God” is subordinate to God the Father. In response to this view the Nicene Council determines that Christ is not a demigod but God and essentially one with God the father. In Nicaea is the doctrine of Trinity is not yet fully developed, because the Holy Spirit, the third Divine person, is not mentioned. This happens during the Oecumenical Council of Constantinople in 381 where the Nicaean Creed is accepted as unchangeable with the main addition that the Holy Spirit as third divine person is equal to God the father and Christ  the son of God. The Holy Spirit, according to the text, is “derives from the father”. In Latin: “Qui ex patre procedit”. Source: http://nl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Geloofsbelijdenis_van_Nicea-Constantinopel

[4] Source image: part of http://www.bertsgeschiedenissite.nl/middeleeuwen/eeuw15/jan_van_eyck.htm

[5] See post: Introduction: Three – Object in the middle – Part 1 of 5th May 2011.

[6] See post: Introduction: Three – Dubio trancendit of 28th April 2011.

[7] Source: Histoire de la vie privée. Tome 1: De l’Empire romain à l’an mil.  Red. Ariès, Philippe & Duby, George.

[8] Source: Chapter 1 from Histoire de la vie privée. Tome 1: De l’Empire romain à l’an mil. 

[9] The word Jupiter consists of the words Deus (or Dieu in French) that via the verb root “div” means “Shine, appear, increase”, and “ptr” meaning father.

[10] See also: Major B.D. Basu ed., The Upanishads, Volume 1 and 23. New Delhi: Cosmo Publications, 2007

[11] See also: http://nl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Geloofsbelijdenis_van_Nicea-Constantinopel. The doctrine of the Trinity – with the Holy Spirit as third Divine person – is not yet developed in the creed as established during the Council of Nicaea in 325 a.d.  At the Council of Constantinople in 381 a.d. an adapted creed is agreed upon, in which the Holy Spirit is acknowledged as third Divine person next to the Father and the Son where the Holy Spirit comes from the father or “qui ex patre procedit”. The creed of Nicaea-Constantinople is accepted by all Christians. In 589 a.d. during the third Council of Toledo, “filioque” or “and the son” is added in the Latin text: the Holy Spirit emerges from the father and the son according to the Latin text. Charlemagne has been successful in ensuring that this addition is accepted by the German churches in 794 a.d.. Pope Leo III has sent a letter to Charlemagne in 808 a.d. mentioning that it is inappropriate to add “filioque” to the creed. Charlemagne has held to his position; he has not asked Pope Leo III to crown his son to Emperor. The creed in in the Roman Catholic creed still includes “filioque”. The Greek and Eastern Orthodox churches have seen this addition as a heretical degradation of doctrine of the Trinity, because this addition says that the Holy Spirit comes from the Father and the Son, and so is no equivalent God. In 1054 a.d.  this addition has caused a schism between the Church of Rome and the Eastern Orthodox Churches. See also: Eliade, Mircea, A History of Religious Ideas, Volume 2. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1982, p. 213-216.

Studying this development two question arise. Why do Christians not accepted that the Trinity are three manifestations of one and the same where they arise together? Why do the father and the son not arise from the Holy Spirit if there is a need for a single origin?

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