the z-theory in one page

In 2009 I had a dream that relieved my theological anxiety and brought peace:

“There is a huge waterfall. Oceans of water pour over the rim of the cliff. The water tumbles down and explodes at the bottom. The deluge spreads over the land covering and consuming everything.”

“There is a huge waterfall. Oceans of water pour over the rim of the cliff.”

We can’t see above the rim, but we can guess that it is an infinite source. There is no proof. Only evidence. We can’t even say it exists. We just know it must be. It is.

This is That-Which-We-Call-God, the Absolute, the Source, Wholly Other, Nirvana, Allah, Yahweh, the Unknowable, the Frontier, the closeted, the Undiscovered.

“The water tumbles down and explodes at the bottom.”

This is the evidence we have of what is above the rim. The infinite and invisible is now finite and visible. This is the revelation of the Wholly Other, the exposure, the incarnation of the mystery, the transmission of truth, the manifestation of the unknown, the discoveries of science. It is the encounter and reception of the unknown now known, the mysterious now perceived.

This is what we call the Christ, the Torah, the Buddha, scientific discovery, revelation, the condescension, the incarnation, the transmission, the embodiment, the coming down and the coming out.

“The deluge spreads out over the land covering and consuming everything.”

This is the realm of time, history and culture. This is where spirit and nature meet. It is the manifestation of the good in the muck of the human story. It is forgiveness, reconciliation and love that find expression in community. Where truth, justice and love abide, this is the working of spirit in the turmoil of history.

This is what we call the spirit, the application of the revelation, the discovery, and the made-known. This is the historical impact in the mess and beauty of this world. This is community, unity, peace and justice in the midst of suffering. Here scriptures are written that try to point to what’s been revealed and seen. It spreads throughout the earth filling and fulfilling all living things, binding all together as one.

This trinitarian structure describes reality that everyone shares. No one has exclusive rights. Though our language articulates our own vantage points, they all describe the same thing from a superficial to a complex level.

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  • Carol

    Although Christianity is unique for its explicit Trinitarian doctrine, many other religious Traditions are implicitly triadic–the Mystery of the One and the many.

    American Christianity is more Unitarian than Trinitarian, I suppose that is why very few professing American Christians belief in the Holy Spirit according to a Barna poll:

    “Multiplicity which is not reduced to unity is confusion. Unity which does not depend on multiplicity is tyranny.” –Blaise Pascal

    “Unfortunately, many Christians do not appreciate the gift of the revelation of the Trinity. Christian laymen often seem to engage in the many ritual gestures devoted to the Trinity with little understanding of the centrality of the Trinity to the faith. Clergy in the West are famous for being befuddled when it comes to preaching the sermon on Trinity Sunday. Indeed, the prominent twentieth-century Catholic theologian Karl Rahner could lament the absence of the Trinity in the intellectual and devotional life of the modern Church. Although recent history demonstrates a new found interest in the Trinity, it still seem that most Christians do not recognize or have somehow forgotten that the doctrine of the Trinity contains* the “pearl of great price” the ne plus ultra of metaphysical wisdom.”
    *I say “contains” rather than “is” because I wish to distinguish between mere notional knowledge and genuine sapiential knowledge of the Trinity. Sapiential comes from sapience, “taste” as in “Taste and see the Lord is good” (Psalm 34:8). Sapiential knowledge is transformative. –Timothy A Mahoney

    When the Trinitarian Mystery is taught it is from a metaphysical rather than a relational perspective turning it into a theological abstraction rather than a dynamic Living Reality.

  • May I ask what anxiety you were having about theology? The only anxiety I ever get from theology is other peoples toxic theology that is used to promote violence,hate, and fear.

  • Doug

    I really, really like the way you explained this, David, even though I recall the diagram from three years ago. It articulates my theology to a tee. Beautifully done! Thanks.

  • You’re welcome Doug! 🙂