In our theology class we are studying how the Trinity has been understood throughout Christian history and in various traditions. It surprises me to discover that there are so many ways of explaining this doctrine. It makes me wonder if maybe some other traditions or cultures have a better understanding of God than what I have come to believe.
This has led me to a way of approaching theology I will probably continue to develop during the remainder of my time in college. I can best summarize it with this question: What is most helpful?
At some point we may discover that what we have always believed about God is being challenged by another doctrine. This can be alarming for those who have grown up to think about God a certain way.
A possible way to respond could be to ask, “is this other way of understanding God helpful in: (1) deepening my love for God, and (2) strengthening my love for others?” If it is not helpful, it doesn’t mean you consider the other doctrine wrong, rather, it is merely unhelpful to you at this point.
I strongly believe that there are many ways of understanding God. God chooses to reveal Himself to people based on where we are at. As 1 Corinthians 13:12 states, we will one day see clearly, but for now we have a limited understanding of God and His purposes. There does exist ultimate truth, and there are aspects to the Christian faith we absolutely should not question. However, when it comes to the fine details of doctrines like the Trinity, there is less clarity in Scripture and christian tradition, and we should be willing to accept what is most helpful even if it does not fully line up with what we grew up believing.
I am not saying it is completely rock solid, but I think for now I will keep working with this approach. I welcome your feedback by email or Facebook.