Three weeks ago John made this comment on the thread Shoghi Effendi and Christian Authority:

Given that you are a convert to the Roman Catholic faith I wonder if a good place to start may be the nature of God, of man and of Jesus Christ. As there are many views on these questions among Christians in general, and amongst some Roman Catholics, it would be interesting to explore these questions to see if it is possible for us to arrive at a common understanding about them. If you are interested in pursuing these themes a good start may be for you to outline the nature of the God you believe in, the nature and purpose of man and his relationship with God and the nature and purpose of Jesus Christ in your world view. A more fundamental question is what is the purpose of creation per se.

I’ve been remiss in getting back to this. Haven’t had time for blogging in a while. But now I can take a crack at it.

The easiest way to sum up my belief would be to recite the Nicene Creed. But instead I’ll put my beliefs in my own words.

The nature of God

God is eternal, which means he exists outside of time. He created everything that exists, including time and space. God is a community of persons: Father, Son and Holy Spirit (called the Trinity).

(Since leaving the Baha’i Faith and becoming Christian, I have fallen out of the habit of capitalizing pronouns when referring to God. Hope that isn’t too distracting.)

The nature and purpose of man and his relationship with God

Man, like all of God’s creatures, are created first and foremost to glorify God. They also reflect the image of God according to their nature. So in man, the love between men reflects the love within the Trinity. When a husband and wife have a child, for example, this is an image of the procession of the Holy Spirit from the love shared by the Father and the Son.

Humans consist of body and soul. The two together make up a human being. So we glorify God and reflect his nature by means of both our body and our soul. That’s why, for example, we perform movements when we worship: have processions, kneel before the Eucharist, etc. We worship God according to our nature, and our nature includes our body.

God calls us to be in relationship with him, and to participate in his work. So when God creates a new person, he includes us in the act (through the marital embrace). When God saves a soul from sin, he includes us in that too (through our teaching, or our companionship, or through sacraments which we humans perform, or whatever God calls us to do).

The nature and purpose of Jesus Christ

Jesus Christ is the link between us and God. I mentioned above that our purpose is to be in relationship with God and to participate in God’s work. Ultimately we are to be with God for eternity. Jesus Christ is how that happens. He brings us into the life of the Trinity.

There’s a line in the liturgy: “May we come to share in the divinity of Christ, who humbled himself to share in our humanity.” So this is how the link takes place: Christ, who is God, becomes a human being, so that human beings who join themselves to him may share in his divinity.

There’s a lot more I could say about everything I’ve written above, but this is sufficient for now.


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